Cornwall – A Land Of Inspiration For Artists

Cornwall – A Land Of Inspiration For Artists

If you’re looking for a place to create your next masterpiece, Cornwall is the perfect place for you. The ancient and scenic nation has been a favorite location for painters and photographers since it was first discovered by artists from mainland Europe in the 19th century. Thanks to its unique landscape of granite tors, coves, rolling hills, and sky-scraping cliffs that come alive at night with a myriad of stars in clear skies.

The most famous of the Cornish painters were the St Ives artists, who came to this sleepy fishing town in the early 20th century and quickly fell in love with its rocky shoreline and its richly colored beaches.

From the early 19th century on, artists have been attracted to Cornwall by the county's rugged and romantic landscape and the special quality of light. The famous luminist painter J. M. W. Turner was the first to bring attention to Cornwall as a cultural and tourism destination. Cornish scenery, he said in his 1811 armchair travel book Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England, has "excellent light, quiet atmosphere, and rich colors," making it Britain's counterpart to the Mediterranean.

His watercolors, oils, and pencil drawings transformed Newlyn, St. Ives, and Penzance into renowned art centers. Thomas Hardy was reportedly moved to write by the breathtaking cliffs that tower above Strangles beach, but where in modern-day Cornwall can artists find their muse?

For those who have no desire to paint or draw, there’s always the option of simply immersing themselves in the scenery. The county is dotted with numerous galleries and museums dedicated to Cornish art. Visitors can also visit the Tate St Ives to see works from some of the most famous artists whose descriptions of this rugged and beautiful land inspired countless people.

Painters also flocked to Newlyn in the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, headed by individuals such as Walter Langley, Edwin Harris, Frank Bramley, Stanhope Forbes, and Elizabeth Forbes, the latter two of whom established an art school in the town. As more people settled there, the Newlyn School came to be recognized as the colony's collective name. Their paintings that were done en plein air (outdoors) depicting the day-to-day life of fishermen and their families are now fetching significant amounts of money. Copperwork that was created in Newlyn is considered to be among the finest examples of the "arts and crafts" tradition. Some examples of this work are on display at the Penlee House Museum, and Michael Johnson, proprietor of The Copper Works in Newlyn, continues the tradition of producing such work today.

Some members of the Newlyn School, such as S.J. "Lamorna" Birch, Sir Alfred Munnings, Dame Laura Knight, and Harold Knight, moved to the little valley and cove of Lamorna, which is located a little farther to the west. Views of this stretch of shore are clearly recognizable in their works, and the group of artists in this region is still quite active. Visit Lino Lord for more