By chance to St Ives…Tuesday 23rd January

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We decided we needed to get out and about, encouraged by the Times weather forecast (which was totally wrong as usual). So we took the train to Penzance, the big one from London as opposed to the bone shaker, clean, quiet, very pleasant. We were intending to take the bus from there to Mousehole and then an exhibition at Penlee House Gallery. However, there would be half-an-hour wait and the bus to St Ives was about to depart so we jumped on that. It took a roundabout route and we got plenty of opportunity to see the landscape of Penwith…wild and rugged with some areas of small fields (supposed to be a sign of Iron Age settlement).

As is usual when we got to St Ives the weather changed for the better…in any case the light is so different, it really is, that it always seems pleasant. We decided to visit Tate St Ives to see whether it had improved from our point of view after the opening of the big new extension. With our National Art passes it cost £3 each so we weren’t going to lose a lot. First stop, top floor cafe and the views from there are lovely..20180123_130848.jpg

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What struck you was that everywhere you went the building was almost as important as its contents….this is Room number 1and we soon found that the quality of the exhibits was matched by the informative descriptions as well as background letters, papers, books etc which added to the story of the growth of Modern Art in St Ives.

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Here, for instance a scribbled letter from Alfred Wallis, the Cornish fisherman who influenced some of the big names ( and there were plenty….Lanyon, Hepworth, Heron Nicholson and many more ) through his primitive approach…

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And the exhibition flowed….after introducing some of the artists we then learned how they were influenced by the great movements on the continent, including Impressionism, and how they became involved in industrial subjects during the War.

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As at the National Gallery I thought the snow scenes were pretty special..

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and I much preferred the paintings which were not totally abstract…

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mind you who would not like the Graham Sutherland….you can see how this links to his great tapestry at Coventry Cathedral which I have seen many times..

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I mentioned the building itself but the outside vistas of St Ives are just as much of the show, so that everything is cleverly linked..

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and this was interesting a view from a plane ( I think Peter Lanyon had the idea ) which is almost an abstract painting itself…

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Just before exiting you are treated to a film of the almost white-out wasted landscape of Labrador to be a juxtaposition of a painting by Alfred Wallis supposedly of his trip there (there is no evidence he actually went!).

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Even the staircase had some rather nice doodles…

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and the foyer was very jolly…

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Whatever the weather it’s always great in St Ives…

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