5th – 10th June 2023
There’s nothing quite like Cornwall in the Summer. Our trip will celebrate female artists, so where better to start than St Ives? Here, we will explore the work of Barbara Hepworth, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and others who lived and worked in St Ives and shaped the trajectory of British Modern Art. The fisherman’s cottages, slate rooves and cobbled streets still attract artists today and we will get a chance to meet them during our studio visits. The last few years have seen the Tate St Ives complete an extension which hosts an exciting program of temporary exhibitions, as well as providing space for more of the permanent collection to be on display. We will travel along the coast to Newlyn, Penzance and Falmouth where we will get to know the Newlyn school of artists who were drawn to the South Coast of Cornwall for its special quality of light, as well as a group of maverick modernists and surrealists including Gluck, Ithell Colquhoun and Marlow Moss. We will also take some time to visit the extraordinary gardens in the area which enjoy an unusually warm climate suitable for tropical planting.
We have chosen bright characterful hotels and wittled down the numerous wonderful eateries to our favourite few pubs and restaurants. Combine this with great company and we have high hopes for this new venture!
Monday 5th June
We will meet at the hotel in the early afternoon before setting out on a walk around town, where we will begin to piece together the historical context of this artist’s haven. We will then have supper at a very good restaurant as we watch the sun set over the sea – the perfect start to our trip.
Tuesday 6th June
We will begin the day at the Tate St Ives, where the main galleries are dedicated to exploring local modern art and its relationship to the wider world. The collection provides an overview of 20th century art from the perspective of St Ives, showing excellent examples of work by both British and international female artists – from Lubaina Himid, Ithell Colquhoun and Marlow Moss to Joan Mitchell, Rebecca Horn and Ana Mendieta. The roof of the gallery boasts a wonderful café with stunning views over Porthmeor beach. We will stop for coffee before wandering down the road to the Penwith Gallery which shows work by contemporary local artists in the Penwith Society of Arts which was founded in 1949 by Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson among others.
After a delicious lunch, we will visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden where the artist lived and worked from 1949 until her death. We will then pop into the St Ives church, just down the road, to see Hepworth’s touching Madonna and Child. Next, we will take a short walk to the Porthmeor Studios where there will be the chance to meet two practicing artists as well as see their work and studios. We will end the day in a lively restaurant in the heart of the old fishing quarter of St Ives.
Wednesday 7th June
We will start the day by travelling to Lamorna, a small village set in the belly of a lush valley which opens out into a cove. Lamorna, with its tumbling stream and twisting trees has captured the imaginations of artists for centuries, and was home to several artist colonies in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries. We will visit the ancient burial ground of Tregiffian and the mysterious stone circle of Merry Maidens which inspired the work of surrealists in Cornwall.
We will enjoy a pub lunch in the village before returning to St Ives for the afternoon to visit the Leach Pottery which was founded in 1920 but run by Janet Leach from 1956 until 1997. Janet Leach was one of the leading potters of the twentieth century, she used Japanese wood firing techniques in combination with gestural poured glazing to create bold, free and elemental pieces. However, her work is often over looked in favour of her husband Bernard Leach who is sometimes referred to as ‘The Father of Studio Pottery’. The site is still a working pottery with several makers, and there will be the chance to try some potting ourselves in a group workshop. Supper in a restaurant tucked in the cliffs of Porthgwidden bay, one of St Ives’ best kept secrets.
Thursday 8th June
We will travel by coach to Penzance for a visit to the Morrab Library. Established in 1818, this independent library sits at the heart of Morrab gardens and overlooks the sea, making it a truly peaceful haven. After a short walk we will find ourselves in Penlee House, a gallery dedicated to the Newlyn School and Lamorna artists.
There will be a light lunch at the Orangery café before we set off on a gentle walk along the seafront to Newlyn Gallery. The gallery offers a wide and varied exhibition programme of contemporary art across all media. Our coach will take us to our next hotel in Penzance, where we will have some time to relax and unpack before a delicious supper.
Friday 9th June
Our first visit of the day will be to the magnificent Trebah Gardens, where 26 acres of subtropical planting stretches across the valley garden. Early Summer will be the perfect time to see the Giant Gunnera as well as the Tulip Tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, which should be in flower.
After lunch we will take a private boat along the Helford River and up Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek. Our boat will leave us at Falmouth Art Gallery where we can explore its fantastic collection of female artists in Cornwall. We will have an early dinner in Falmouth and return to the hotel as the sun sets.
Saturday 10th June
We will spend our final day together at the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, an extraordinary place which combines sub-tropical planting and an evolving programme of contemporary artwork by internationally renowned artists such as Penny Saunders and James Turrell. The garden sits in a sheltered valley overlooking St Michael’s Mount – a view we will enjoy over a relaxing lunch at the Tremenheere Kitchen before our journey home.
The trip will be led by Frankie Dytor and Fania Weatherby. Fania is an artist and art historian, who is currently engaged in multiple education projects at museums, galleries, and charities across London, including the Courtauld Institute and the Charles Dickens Museum. Her academic research to date has centred on European modernism, which forms the basis of many Cornish collections, and, as an artist, Fania regularly responds to the experience of natural landscapes as many artists sought when visiting Cornwall. Frankie is a researcher and writer currently completing a PhD at the University of Cambridge. Much of their work focuses on women’s responses to the past at the end of the nineteenth century. Frankie has published a number of articles on this topic, with forthcoming work on couples in art history and the poet Charlotte Mew (author of a little-known play in Cornish dialect, The China Bowl). In addition to research, Frankie teaches on gender and art history to many different audiences.
We will stay at St Ives Harbour Hotel, an elegant Victorian seaside retreat. The hotel is ideally located overlooking Porthminster beach and just a ten minute stroll from the centre of town. There is also a spa and swimming pool for those who wish to soothe the body and mind.
We will stay at the Beach Club Hotel in Penzance. This Victorian hotel sits on the seafront just behind the promenade. It has soaring sea views of Mount’s Bay, from the Lizard Peninsula to Newlyn Harbour and across to St Michael’s Mount.
We will meet at the hotel on Monday at 15.00 and we will finish the course at the hotel in Penzance at 15.00. Once everyone has submitted their travel plans we can organise shared taxis if suitable.
During the trip we will travel in comfort in a private coach with air-conditioning.
There is quite a bit of walking on this trip, as well as uneven cobbles and steep slopes. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.
Dinner is by no means compulsory, but we book a table for the group each night at different restaurants and divide the bill equally between everyone.
The fees are £2620 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transport when connected with teaching, entrance fees, tuition, private boat trip, pottery workshop, reading lists and local advice. The single occupancy supplement is £200 (double room for single use). Not included are all suppers and travel insurance. The group will not exceed 16 people and we will divide in to two smaller groups wherever possible.
Please complete the online registration form, having read our terms and conditions and pay the fees via bank transfer.
If you have any queries please email charlie@arthistoryabroad or call 01379 871800 (302)
NB you must buy your own train tickets.