Cornish Arts and Crafts

Cornwall – A magnet for artists

Spend any time in Cornwall and you can’t fail to notice Cornish arts and crafts. From artists’ studios dotted around some of the fishing coves to the famous Tate Gallery in St Ives, the area has produced some outstanding artists and has firmly placed Cornwall on the world-wide artistic stage.

Cornwall has been a magnet for artists for a long time. The clear skies and waters coupled with the milder climate allow painting outdoors to flourish (known as plein-airism).

Tate St Ives

This quality appealed to Victorian artists and by the mid nineteenth century a series of prolific art movements began to grow in the area.

The newly built railway had reached Penzance and artists discovered the benefits of the cheaper cost of living, stunning landscape and ready made subjects in the local fishing trade. Now they also had the ability to transport paintings and art pieces back to London by train for exhibition.

silver bowls

The Newlyn School, the Lamorna Colony and the St Ives School of Painting attracted a respected roll call of influential artists, potters, jewellery makers, sculptors and crafts people.

Local fishermen, working seasonally at best, gained new skills and joined the Guild of Master Craftsmen in producing copper home wares. Movements in art from impressionism, arts and crafts to avant-garde are reflected in many of the paintings and pieces originating from the area.

fishes on canvas

In Cornwall today there are a wealth of courses, galleries and museums to be found all around the area and craft fairs and arts festivals take place throughout the year.

If you wind down the narrow lanes to many of the coastal villages you’re bound to find an old fisherman’s cottage or sail loft converted into an artisan studio, many of which hold open days and allow you to view and buy art pieces.

artist studio

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