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Cornwall Art


Today there is a vibrant thriving contemporary art scene in Cornwall and many Cornish Galleries and museums exhibiting varied works of art both current and dating back to Victorian times. But it has not always been so. Until Brunel built his bridge over the River Tamar at Saltash in 1859 bringing with it a rail link to the rest of the UK very few artists ventured west into the dark mysterious Cornish land.

One of the few who did so was J M W Turner RA (1775 - 1851). Between 1811 and 1813 Turner was able to capture the magical light of this hitherto unknown peninsula. His vision of the Cornish coast and rapidly changing moods of the Cornish landscape was captured in the magnificent watercolours for which he is now known. Captivated by these his fellow artists began to travel to see for themselves what Cornwall had to offer.

These early travelers found themselves drawn in particular to the small fishing villages of Newlyn and St Ives. These small communities in the far west of Cornwall offered a multitude of opportunities for sketching the local people going about their day to day lives. In addition they found themselves drawn by the quality of the light in Newlyn and St Ives. Many of these early Victorian artists once here, decided to stay and two distinct schools of art in Cornwall began to develop - the Newlyn School and the St Ives School.

One of the founding members of the Newlyn School was Lamorna Birch who settled in Newlyn and Lamorna