Foreign Artists inspired by the Cornish Coast

Foreign Artists inspired by the Cornish Coast
Lawrence House Museum, Launceston

When: 03 April 2017 to 30 June 2017
Where: Downstairs Exhibition Room, Lawrence House Museum
Time: 10.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: None
Suitable for: Any age

Lawrence House Museum is fortunate to be hosting this wonderful exhibition from Monday 3 April until Friday 30 June 2017.

All the paintings on display are from the collection of David Tovey, a leading expert on the artists who came from abroad to join the colony of painters who settled in St Ives in the late 1800s. Many of the paintings have not been on display in the UK before.

Entry to the Museum and exhibition is free. It is hoped that art groups and schools as well as members of the public will take the opportunity to come to see these unique paintings during the currency of the exhibition.

David Tovey says:

 “My interest in Cornish art stems from the fact that my great-grandfather, William Titcomb, was one of the first artists to settle in St Ives in the late 1880s.  My research into his career in the late 1970s led to an interest in all Cornish representational art and I found, as I did further research, that much of what had been written in the 20th century about the early years of the art colony in St Ives was not only incomplete but also inaccurate.  This led ultimately, between 2003-2010, to five ground-breaking detailed surveys of both the artistic and social history of St Ives art from 1800 to 1952 (with related exhibitions at Penlee House Gallery, Penzance).  One of the major new discoveries was not only the vast number of foreign artists who worked in Cornwall, but also the influence that their Cornish experiences had on their careers.  With many of these artists becoming leading marine painters in their home countries, this was a facet of Cornish art that needed to be publicised, for it is rare for British art to be shown to have such an international influence.  The trouble was/is that most of these foreign artists took their Cornish works home with them and the best examples are in public collections on the other side of the world – America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.  Cost considerations have therefore meant that it has proved impossible so far to get those works over here and it has proved equally impossible for public galleries in this country (even if interested) to do the requisite due diligence on paintings coming up at auction abroad in time.  Accordingly, it has been left to me to buy some examples of these works from far-flung corners of the globe so that at least a hint of the story can be told, albeit I cannot afford the seriously good paintings, many of which are anyway in public collections.

“From the late 1870s the Cornish coast has inspired the work of many foreign artists, with St Ives, in particular, being renowned internationally as “the Mecca of the seascapist”. Not only did these artists promote Cornwall in their own countries, leading to further artist and tourist visitors, but their Cornish experiences can often be demonstrated to have had a significant influence on their own careers as marine painters.

“There are a handful of works that appeared in last year’s marine painting show at Penlee, as I do not have any other examples of that particular artist’s work, but, where possible, I have included work that has not been exhibited before.

“I have tried to have some diversity of subject, so that it is not all rocks and sea, but St Ives harbour does feature quite a bit!  I have also attempted to ensure that there are some subjects, such as Cornish wrestling, fishing activities, mine buildings etc which can be explored further with schools. “ 

LAWRENCE HOUSE MUSEUM is open every weekday (including bank holidays) until Friday 27 October during the hours of 10.30 to 4.30 (last admission 4pm) and all Bank Holidays.

During the currency of the exhibition it will also be open on Saturdays 8 April, 13 May & 10 June.

If you want to bring a party of adults, please contact the Curator.
For school parties please contact Judith Cayzer, our education officer see contact details below.

Our telephone number is 01566 773277; email:

You can keep up to date with our website:   

The museum is signposted from all the Town’s car parks and has a ramp for wheelchair access to the ground floor. We look forward to seeing you.

Exhibition Gallery

George Henry Boughton  NA RA RI ROI (1833-1905)

This is his 1882 RA exhibit, "St Ives Bay," later re-titled "The Wrestling Match," when it was loaned to the Manchester Jubilee Exhibition in 1887,
Richard Hayley Lever	NA, ROI (1876-1958)

Fishing Boats, St Ives

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