Sunday, 10 February 2013

Newlyn School of Art

We have been studying some of the artists who were involved with the Newlyn School of Art at my little art group.  I hadn't realised that there were about 130 artists who studied there between 1880 and the early twentieth century.  Newlyn (near Penzance in Cornwall) attracted artists because of its light, cheap living and availability of models.  Many of the artists were fascinated by the fishermen, their lives and their families.  Perhaps the most well known of the artists is Stanhope Forbes and his wife Elizabeth who later formed the 'Forbes School of Painting' in 1899 and promoted the study of figure painting.

Just look at the detail in these paintings of his

The Health of the Bride (1889).

  A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach (1885)

The Saffron Cake (1920)

Going to School (1917)

The following paintings are by Elizabeth Forbes

School is Out (1889)

Blackberry Gatherers (1912)

Boy with a Hoe (1882)

Some of the artists, particularly Walter Langley, showed the hazards and tragedies associated with a fisherman's life with women looking anxiously out to sea or grieving when a loved one has drowned.  

For men must work and women must weep (1883)

Disaster ((1889)

The paintings I would love to feature here are too numerous but I will end with one of my favourites which is often used for greeting cards so you may recognise it.

The Beach by Dame Laura Knight (1909)


  1. Some lovely works there - I love the colour in Going to School. We went to see an exhibition of Dame Laura Knight paintings recently at Worcester City Art Gallery - she's an interesting person. There's a film based around Newlyn artists coming out at the end of this year - 'Summer in February'. x

    1. I didn't know about the film so thanks for that. I shall look forward to seeing it.

    2. Summer in February has been shown in the Savoy Cinema, Penzance this week, and the film goes on general sale 14th June. Simply awesome...can't wait to see it... :-) Xx

  2. I have been interested in this group of Artists for sometime too. I read a novel a few years ago that was based on one of the artists. Unfortunately when we were stayed near St Ives I never had a chance to visit the Penlee Museum in Penzance that features some of their work. I will have to return to this area again! The pictures you have shown are wonderful and capture their lives so well and the colours and detail are fantastic.
    Sarah x

  3. Lovely paintings I do agree. If you haven't already, I do recommend that you read "Summer in February" by Jonathan Smith which covers the later Newlyn School - "Lamorna Group" comprising Laura and Harold Knight, and (the future 'Sir') Alfred Munnings among others. (And thanks to Vintage Tea Time for the news about the film - I look forward to seeing it.)

    1. Thanks for this, I hadn't realised there was a book either so will definitely order it.

  4. Thank you for reminding me how wonderful these paintings are. And I'm also making a note of the film & novel. In fact I'm off to Amazon for the novel right now.

  5. Absolutely beautiful paintings and such detail. I really love the Blackberry Gatherer's.
    Jo xx

  6. These are wonderful and Henry is adorable......Heidi

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  8. Stunning, they were so clever eh? I wish I could paint like that.....
    Thanks for sharing, Love Helen x

  9. Hopefully you all know, but the 'home' of Newlyn School paintings is Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance ( - and our next exhibition is 'Summer in February', with paintings and artefacts relating to the book/film - opens 16 March. Also, there's a great show on at Two Temple Place in London at the moment called 'Amongst Heroes', including 15 works from Penlee and other loans such as Forbes's 'Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach' from Plymouth.
    Alison Bevan, Director, Penlee House Gallery & Museum

  10. For those who've not yet come across it there is a present day Newlyn School of Art which was set up in association with the Arts Council of England in 2011 which teaches short courses in the famous art colony of Newlyn with over twenty five of Cornwall's most respected artists teaching Painting, Drawing, Pottery, Sculpture, Printmaking and Fabric Design today. See it's a not for profit organisation providing valuable work for many artists in Cornwall.