|About the Book|
From here, looking out on the Atlantic blue, successive waves of artists have cemented the continuity of one of the worlds most enduring and influential art colonies. In recent times the importance of the studios has been underlined through a majorMoreFrom here, looking out on the Atlantic blue, successive waves of artists have cemented the continuity of one of the worlds most enduring and influential art colonies. In recent times the importance of the studios has been underlined through a major programme of renovation that has secured their future both as working studios while retaining their traditional use by local fisherman.The first artists to arrive in St Ives at the end of the nineteenth century were of independent means. Their paintings, often picturesque scenes of harbours and seascapes, were frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy alongside the more dramatic paintings of their Newlyn contemporaries. It was not until the 1930s that changes began to take place with the rise of Nazi Germany and its anti-progressive art movement, the closing down of the Bauhaus and the fleeing of avant garde artists to Britain and America. Modernism had arrived.Many of these artists, now famous names, came to St Ives and developed their painting and sculpture with a feeling for place and spirituality, acknowledging and interpreting the power that Cornwall exerts on creative people. Often without the financial means of their predecessors, these artists sought studio space in fish lofts and cellars, many by this date abandoned by a fishing industry in decline.In 1947 when the artist Borlase Smart, a stalwart of the art colony, died the Borlase Smart Trust was established, purchasing the studios and securing their use for the future.In the present day the renamed Borlase Smart John Wells Trust was able to raise funds to form a regeneration programme and save the studios, and also the net lofts occupied by the fishermen, from a state of dilapidation to a joyful renaissance that will ensure the future for both artists and mariners. This book looks at the work of artists past and present. It is both a reminder of the rich past of the Porthmeor Studios and a celebration of their future, now secured.