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Distinguished artists associated with St Ives school of painting

W Barns-Graham Sven Berlin Sandra Blow RA John Emmanuel Leonard Fuller Sir Terry Frost RA Roger Hilton Peter Lanyon Bryan Pearce Borlase Smart Bryan Wynter


St Ives School of Painting offers a range of courses for today’s growing community of aspiring and practising artists, in its recently refurbished studios overlooking the ocean. From beginners discovering their creative potential to those seeking to improve their skills or explore new approaches, students learn from practising artists within the artistic heart of St Ives.

The Porthmeor Studios


Seventy Five Years

Painting Class 1901

Prior to 1914, St Ives developed an international reputation for teaching landscape and marine painting, derived initially from the tonalist landscapes of Adrian Scott Stokes RA. In 1895, Julius Olsson RA and Louis Grier established a School of Painting at Porthmeor Studios and, later, on The Wharf, teaching marine and landscape painting, emphasising working out of doors. Grier later set up a similar School on his own, whilst Algernon Talmage RA assisted Olsson. Another class was run by John Noble Barlow. In addition to attracting British students, these Schools influenced overseas artists including, between 1914-1920, pioneering Antipodean female artists who came to St Ives to learn modernist painting techniques from New Zealander, Frances Hodgkins. Between 1916-1924, Charles and Ruth Simpson ran a highly regarded School with an emphasis on ‘plein air’ sketching and,

whilst John Park and Arthur Hayward also ran painting classes in the late 1920s, Borlase Smart felt there was a need in the 1930s for a formal school in the Colony, enlisting his old war colleague Leonard Fuller to the enterprise. David Tovey - www.stivesart.info


St Ives School of Painting

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Creative roots

Opening the St Ives School of Painting in April 1938 was the fulfilment of a vow made by two young officers in the trenches of the first world war: if they survived the Western Front they would one day live and paint in St Ives. Both were trained and experienced artists, Borlase Smart had studied under Julius Olsson R.A. in St Ives and Leonard Fuller at the Royal Academy. After the war Borlase Smart and his wife Irene settled in St Ives, living for a while in No1 Porthmeor Studios, formerly fishermen’s sail lofts and cellars until the 1870‘s when many were converted to studios. Smart became one of St Ives leading artists specialising in seascapes and etchings.

Leonard Fuller married Marjorie Mostyn and returned to the Home Counties after the war becoming Drawing Master at Dulwich College. His portraits were regularly shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. In 1938 Smart persuaded Fuller to open the St Ives School of Painting in No 11 Porthmeor Studios, an immediate success attracting students locally, around Britain and abroad.

Above/ Julius Olsson by the window of the original 5 Porthmeor Studios, built for his painting school in 1895 Opposite/ A painting class in The Harbour Studio in 1901, showing from the left Will Ashton, Hilda Fearon and Emily Carr


Seventy Five Years

Left/ Leonard Fuller teaching in Studio 11 Top right/ Fuller and Smart outside The School Bottom right/ Students in front of The School c1940


St Ives School of Painting

1939 saw the arrival in St Ives of painter Ben Nicholson and sculptor Barbara Hepworth followed by the Russian constructivist Naum Gabo. With potter Bernard Leach, St Ives was set to become a leading contemporary art community, soon giving its name to a modern art movement with an international reputation rivalling that of New York. Right/ Leonard fuller teaching on Porthmeor beach Below/ Opposite Porthmeor Studios Bottom/ Portraits of Leonard Fuller and Marjorie Mostyn painted by each other, now hanging in the School’s studio

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Seventy Five Years

The School continued to flourish throughout the 1940s and 50s when young modern artists, including Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost and Wilhelmina Barns Graham, regularly used its facilities, particularly life classes.

“We young painters used to go to the painting school, it was the cheapest way we could get a model. There was Peter Lanyon and Sven Berlin. We were some of the early pupils that went along to draw. ” SIR Terry Frost Many works from the 1950s by Ben Nicholson and artists now known as the ‘Middle Generation’ (Patrick Heron, Terry Frost and Wilhelmina Barns Graham…) were produced in Porthmeor Studios. These were exciting times for St Ives artists whose works gained national prominence in the Festival of Britain, international recognition from touring exhibitions and links with New York through the writings of Patrick Heron. Meanwhile the School continued to attract local and visiting students, including the St Ives born primitive painter Bryan Pearce. However, the deaths of Barbara Hepworth, Roger Hilton, Bryan Wynter and Leonard Fuller (in 1973), left Marjorie Mostyn alone to continue her husband’s work at the School of Painting.


St Ives School of Painting

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Seventy Five Years

Roy Ray, who had attended the school in the 1960s, moved to St Ives in 1974. He made frequent visits to the School, initially to offer Marjorie support during classes often only attended by one or two loyal friends. A skilled artist, he was soon asked to help others with their drawing and although he had not taught before, his affable nature and ability to explain and share techniques meant he was soon teaching regularly and in 1977 Marjorie asked Roy to run the School. At this time Roy’s painting had become much more contemporary and he introduced courses aimed at students seeking access to contemporary ideas and a more personal direction in their work. He invited a number of local artists to help run classes and started a Wednesday evening life drawing class – so popular with locals and visitors that itcontinues to this day. The School was now seen by many as the teaching wing of an art community and visitors were made to feel part of this during their stay in St Ives.

With the influence of Roy and his wife Beryl the School became a hub for art and social activities. Art films were shown and wellknown figures of the art world gave lectures. The monthly artists’ lunches were one of the most popular events where artists from all parts of the community, including well-known names, would gather for Beryl’s ploughman’s and a bottle of wine. By the end of the nineties the School had built an international reputation for its experimental, contemporary courses, unique in its setting and quality of teaching. It was clear that its status would have to change to meet the needs of its enlarged role and in 2000, in order to secure the future of the School, Roy Ray established a trust, now a registered charity. Above/ Roy Ray, Principal 1977 - 2010 Left/ One of the imfamous artist lunches Right/ Contemporary landscape class in 2013


St Ives School of Painting

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Seventy Five Years On

seventy five years on Three quarters of a century ago Borlase Smart and Leonard Fuller fulfilled their dream of opening an art school. We hope they would be proud of the School as it stands today; a lively dynamic space still at the heart of the local arts community.

Having expanded into two studios in 2006 the School now offers a wide range of year round courses and workshops including classes for children and school groups. Its success is only possible thanks to its core team of contemporary artists who provide quality tuition to students at all levels. Class sizes are limited and the tutors are practising artists with many years teaching experience enabling anyone at any level, to receive the individual attention they need to develop their skills. This publication is a celebration of 75 years of welcoming students to this unique setting. Recent Arts Council England funding has helped ensure even more people can now experience making art in these historic studios. With this support a new generation of artists, enthusiastic amateurs, students, professionals, beginners, children and families will continue to experience this memorable setting, learn and be inspired. Top/ Painting course in 2013 Left/ Children’s Workshop


St Ives School of Painting

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Converted sail loft with beautiful sun terrace open for Morning coffee, Lunch and Dinner daily serving the best local produce with warm friendly service. Recommended in the Michelin guide for the last 4 years.

Book for reservations on 01736 794204

Visit us at www.theloftrestaurantandterrace.com On Norway Lane above the Sloop craft market

The oldest hotel in St Ives has been lovingly restored as a luxury coastal bolt-hole by the sea. Nestled in a peaceful side street, yet in the heart of the historic seaside town only a few steps from the quayside, restaurants, galleries and beautiful award-winning beaches. A perfect place from which to discover St Ives and explore the Cornish coast.

Telephone: 01736 791 803 Email: enquiries@thetidehouse.co.uk Visit us: www.thetidehouse.co.uk


Seventy Five Years

In 2012 renovation work on the Porthmeor Studios, a Grade II* historic building was completed. The building had been in an extremely fragile state before the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust raised over ÂŁ4 million to restore this much-loved local building and ensure its legacy for another 100 years.


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“The most informative art course I have attended – amazing teaching and energy – I loved it. ” Jeanne Stone - Inside Outside

“Exactly the right mix of encouragement and “stretching”, with helpful feedback and individual help when needed. ” Jenny Strang - Lanyons landscapes

“Excellent tuition, friendly, fun, challenging and rewarding.” Lyn Bell – Setting the Tone

www.schoolofpainting.co.uk 01736 797180

75th anniversary historical publication  

In 2013 St Ives School of Painting celebrated its 75th birthday. This publication was produced to show historical photos and tell stories f...

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