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Medieval monsters inspire design of Norwich GoGoDragon! Dennis

Of the dozens of dragons festooning Norwich, there’s one featuring a trail all of his own. EMMA KNIGHTS tells the story of Dennis, the dragon decorated with his own menagerie of mythical beasts.

Dennis the GoGoDragon! has been painted by artist Fiona Gowen and features sea monsters inspired by medieval maps. Fiona is pictured with David Smith, from sponsor Konectbus and Anglianbus.

“Here Be Dragons” is said to have adorned many an ancient map, to mark out dangerous territories.

And the creatures dreamt up by adventurers and travellers from centuries past have provided the inspiration for the striking designs on one of Norwich’s GoGoDragons!

Dennis, who can be found on St Stephens Street, has been created by city-based illustrator Fiona Gowen who described the dragon as a “mash-up” of sketches found on medieval, or early modern, maps and children’s book illustrations.

“I researched old maps and scoured them for interesting monsters and took a selection of them, some winged ones, some more obscure ones,” said Miss Gowen, 29.

“A lot of the time they were used to show unchartered waters or dangerous territory. A lot of them are based on whales or sea creatures. At the time they did not know all about them, they just saw glimpses and then interpreted them in their own way.”

There are more than 25 monsters painted on Dennis, and each has its origin in a 15th or 16th century illustration. But Miss Gowen added: “The old monsters were meant to scare people whereas the monsters on Dennis are nice monsters.”

Dennis also features a modern day map of the world, painted in the style of a medieval map. His sponsor Konectbus and Anglianbus has published a GoGoDennis Monster Spotters’ Guide, which is available at Norwich Bus Station.

For more on the GoGoDragons! trail, organised by Break and Wild in Art, visit

For full story EDP24 Online

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