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Art in Cornwall

  • Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

The quality of light and elemental landscapes in Cornwall have long appealed to artists. The first ‘school’ of artists in Newlyn was founded in 1877, with painters working outside, in the Impressionist tradition. The Lamorna group followed, championing a bolder, brighter approach, and then during the Second World War, St Ives became a vital centre of Modernism.

There’s still a thriving art scene here, a large community of artists, and internationally renowned art museums, and galleries. It all makes Cornwall a surprisingly good place to admire and buy art.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Art walking tour of St Ives

  • St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Art walking tour of St Ives

Experience

Take an audiovisual walking tour of St Ives, connecting places of high artistic relevance to the Modernist painter Ben Nicholson, one of the most radical artists of the 20th century. Download it free to your iPhone/iPad from the Tate website. It starts at the Tate.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 1-3 hours

  • St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Barbara Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson moved to Cornwall in 1939 and quickly became part of a local art movement of international repute.

Hepworth studied with Henry Moore at the Leeds School of Art and went on to become one of Britain’s foremost modernist sculptors and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century. Her early works are mainly of wood and stone, with larger bronze pieces later in her career. Many of her works are abstracted sculptures of the human form.

Her modernist sculptures are on display in the studio and garden where she lived and worked from 1949 until her death in a fire in 1975.

The site is managed by the Tate Gallery, but visiting remains an intimate experience, with tools and furnishings exactly as Hepworth left them.

Adult price: £7

Good for age: 13+

Falmouth Art Gallery

  • Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Falmouth Art Gallery

Experience

This permanent collection contains over 200 works by major British artists including Sir Frank Brangwyn, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Sir Alfred Munnings, Henry Scott Tuke and Dame Laura Knight. The Gallery also puts on a varied temporary exhibitions programme

Good for age: 18+

  • St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, the pioneering Leach Pottery in St Ives went on to become the world’s most influential pottery studio; Eastern and Western ceramic traditions and the use of locally sourced materials continue to influence ceramic artists to this day.

It still trains potters from around the world, and you too can learn the art of pottery here from the best in the business. They offer a selection of workshops ranging from a 2-hour tasting session, to evening classes and 5-day courses. Adults only (18+)

There’s also a museum and gallery and shop if you want to explore the history of pottery, and a shop to purchase some first-rate, hand-crafted ceramics.

Adult price: £8

Good for age: 8+

  • St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Tate St Ives

Bucket List Experience

Tate St Ives

Tate St Ives owes its existence to the St Ives School, centred first around two artists and officers who had survived the Western Front, then Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Leach and co, who turned the West Cornish coastal town into an international centre of the modernist movement.

The exhibitions showcase the work of these artists as well as contemporary artists in residence – and the views from the top-floor café are knockout.

Don’t expect anything with the scope and scale of the Tate galleries in London; this is a tiny gallery by comparison. Check the website in advance to see what exhibitions are on.

Adult price: £11

Good for age: 15+

Logistics

Price from: £-
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around