Introducing our collection of work from the Newlyn School Artists.
Based in the fishing Village of Newlyn, adjacent to Penzance Cornwall, the Newlyn School was an important chapter in the history of British impressionism. The area’s spectacular scenery has attracted visiting artists since the early 19th century, and in the 1880s, numerous British painters began to arrive in Newlyn, many of whom had trained in Paris or Antwerp. In Newlyn they found a similar source of inspiration, but closer to home and with a direct rail link to London.
Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall
Newlyn offered scenes and lives scarcely touched by the industrial revolution, with plentiful, cheap accommodation and willing models. Soon, a host of artists settled, forming the colony known as the Newlyn School. Although the Newlyn School as a unified artistic movement ceased to exist in the early 20th century, the area remains a vibrant art colony to this day, and many hundreds of artists have made the area their home at some point in their lives.
We are pleased to share with you a fantastic selection of artworks from the father of the Newlyn School, Stanhope Alexander Forbes, as well as Dorothea Sharp, Laura Knight and Alfred Munnings.
Stanhope Alexander Forbes
In 1881, Forbes went to Brittany with fellow artist La Thangue. His time in France brought him into contact with the ‘new plein air’ painters, which was to influence his style dramatically.
He arrived in Newlyn in 1884 and soon became a leading figure in the growing colony of artists. His national reputation was established with the acceptance of his ‘A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach’ in 1885 at the Royal Academy, London, which is now owned by Plymouth City Art Gallery. As well as the purchase of The Health of the Bride in 1889 by Henry Tate, now at Tate Britain, London.
As the number of artists in Newlyn dwindled, Stanhope and his wife Elizabeth Forbes founded their School of Painting in 1899. This was to attract a whole new generation of artists to the area, including Ernest Procter and his future wife Doris Dod Shaw, and in time, Alfred Munnings and Harold and Laura Knight.
Dame Laura Knight
Born in Derbyshire, Laura Johnson was encouraged to paint by her artistic mother and first went to study at Nottingham School of Art at the age of thirteen. It was here that she met her future husband Harold Knight, whom she travelled with widely.
In 1907, the Knights came to Cornwall, where they spent most of their time in the inspiring village of Newlyn before later moving to Lamorna, where they became central figures in the growing artists colony.
Born in Dartford, Kent, Dorothea Sharp travelled widely throughout her life, and spent many years studying in Paris where she was influenced by the work of the French impressionists.
In later years Sharp became strongly associated with St Ives in the 1920s, visiting in the summers and immersing herself in the subject matter she became renowned for, joyful images of children, often at the beach. Her training and practice as a plein air painter and her absorption of the impressionists’ use of colour and light brought freshness and spontaneity to all of her artwork.
In 1928 Sharp was elected an honorary member of the St Ives Society of Artists, and in the late 1930s she settled in the colony for several years. Deeply immersed in artistic life there, she showed with such well known artists as Laura Knight, Alfred Munnings and Stanhope Forbes. For several years she managed Lanham Galleries in St Ives, which showcased the work of Newlyn and St Ives School painters. However, in the mid 1940s Sharp returned permanently to her Blomfield Road studio in London, where she remained until her death.
Sir Alfred Munnings
Alfred Munnings is widely known as one of Britains finest painters of horses, and like many of the Newlyn School artists, Munnings found great influence in the en plein air realism, which he discovered while studying in the Academie Julian in Paris.
After having two of his paintings featured in the 1899 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Munnings became associated with the Newlyn School of Painters, alongside peers such as Laura and Harold Knight. It was in Newlyn that he met his first wife, Florence Carter-Wood.
However this was a short lived marriage that ended in tragedy, when ‘Flossie’ first attempted suicide on their honeymoon and then succeeded in taking her own life in 1914. In later years, Munnings was hired as the war artist for the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. It was his time as a war artist that would lead to his big break, after a portrait of General Jack Seely on his his horse led to a spate of further high profile commissions, including a famous portrait of the Grand National-winning racehorse, Poethlyn, in 1919.