Thanks to its scenery and unique, clear light, Cornwall has always attracted artists. The result – a vibrant, creative art community which continues to produce inspirational work. What are the best ways to appreciate art during your stay in Cornwall? Here are some of our suggestions…
Visit a gallery
There was a collective groan when Tate St Ives’ re-launch date was put back to 2017. It’s missed; however, there are some fabulous other galleries which deserve attention.
Head west to Newlyn. This fishing town began to attract artists in the early nineteenth century, inspired by the subject of fishermen and their families as well as the rugged landscape. Towards the end of the century, an artists’ colony formed, including Walter Langley, Stanhope Forbes, Elizabeth Forbes, and Henry Scott Tuke. Many artists dipped in and out of “the Newlyn School”, staying in Newlyn, St Ives, Lelant and Falmouth, and later in Lamorna. To find out about the Newlyn School of Art, visit Penlee House in Penzance. To see what’s happening in contemporary Newlyn, there’s always something fascinating happening at the Newlyn Art Gallery.
Falmouth, with a university producing some of the country’s best creative talents, is another Cornish town with a long association with art. Falmouth Art Gallery with its varied collection is a brilliant place to find out more about art in Cornwall. It’s also an extremely family friendly place to visit. The town itself has many contemporary galleries to explore – and shop in…
Experience outdoor art
Art doesn’t have to be confined to a gallery. There are two sub-tropical gardens in West Cornwall that combine art with spectacular planting.
Sculptor Barbara Hepworth lived and worked in St Ives. She and her husband Ben Nicholson and their young children moved to St Ives at the start of the Second World War. When she died in 1975, she asked that her home and studio, Trewyn Studios, be opened as a museum of her work, and the resulting Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden celebrates its 40th birthday this year. The garden was designed by Hepworth herself, and many of the sculptures are still where she positioned them. A beautiful oasis in the middle of the busy little town, the Hepworth is unexpectedly fun for young families to explore.
On the opposite coast near Penzance, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is one of Cornwall’s newest attractions, opening just over three years ago. The sheltered valley has been gorgeously planted with exotic sub-tropical foliage, and the dramatic plants share the gardens with exciting art installations. A lovely woodland and garden walk, with the added pleasure of discovering inspirational art round every corner…Again, a great way of introducing art to younger visitors, and there’s a splendid restaurant and plant shop.
If you’re here in late May and early June, you’ll catch this year’s Open Studios. For nine days, from 28 May, 260 local artists and craftspeople open their studios to visitors. Meeting the artists and seeing their work in situ is a wonderful way to enjoy Cornish art, picking up some tips, and gaining inspiration. As many of the studios are in remote and unexplored locations, it’s also an opportunity to discover places that are new to you. Look out for the orange O symbol on gates and walls…
Be creative yourself
If you feel inspired to try something yourself, tie in some studio visits in West Cornwall with a session at Barnoon Workshop in St Ives, where they have a fabulous programme of art classes. These can range from drawing skills to sandcasting.
Also worth looking into is Aggie Arts in lovely St Agnes, where you can learn all sorts of skills from photography to pasty making. And don’t forget – you can always simply grab a sketchbook or a camera and head off towards the coast…
Have a look at the art in The Cornwall
Here at The Cornwall, we have a fascinating and varied collection of original artwork for our visitors to appreciate. Many of the paintings and drawings are related to the history and times of the estate. These include specially commissioned paintings as well as portraits which have kindly been loaned to us.
We are currently displaying unique furniture in the hotel reception rooms, created by local artist Nick Mackrory. Many of the paintings and artworks displayed at The Cornwall are from Perfect Circle Art.
We’re always happy to advise about what exhibitions and art events are happening in Cornwall. If you want help planning your stay, please just get in touch.