Art From St. Ives, Cornwall, UK: Hot Bed of English Art for Over a Century

5th December 2023 5 minutes read

Art From St. Ives, Cornwall, UK: Hot Bed of English Art

Art from St. Ives, Cornwall, UK has been around for over a century. Learn more about artists like Francesca Owen and Paul Wadsworth here.

Art doesn’t just calm people down and inspire strong emotions. It allows us to connect with others, cross divides, and break down barriers. Its self-expression lets us break down complex issues and transcends time to connect us over centuries.

Art from St. Ives, Cornwall is some of the best out there. Read on to learn about Francesca Owen, Paul Wadsworth, and St Ives’ contributions to the UK and global art scenes.

A History of West Cornwall Art

The Great Western Railway expanded into West Cornwall in 1877. At this point, many artists began to transport themselves into the city.

This made sense since it has always been home to many idyllic landscapes. Eclectic rock formations, valleys and sprawling fields, and seaside cliffs and ocean waters make great subjects for paintings and inspiration for creation.

Since 1920, Cornwall has been a hotbed for artists in the UK. It began as a pottery hub that moved into an established artist colony.

The prominent St Ives School of Painting opened in 1937. This school was a critical development in abstract art in several mediums including painting, sculpting, and sketching. It remains a world-renowned school for promising young artists today.

WWII caused new artists to move to Cornwall with children and bring avant-garde styles along with them. This expanded the possibilities for artists in Cornwall and they were able to create a wider range of works.

Terry Frost

Terry Frost is one of the most prolific artists from St Ives. Born in 1915, he hosted his first solo exhibition at the St Ives School of Painting in 1947.

Since he had served in World War II, he believed that he had more heightened awareness of his surroundings because of the difficult conditions. His time as a prisoner of war also gave him the perspective that he brought to his art.

Frost was a widely renowned abstract artist who used bright colors and bold shapes to illustrate emotion. He uses many circular shapes including half-circles and ovals. These unique pieces made his work highly recognizable, and he was able to shape the abstract art movement in England with it.

Though he died in 2003, art collectors and galleries still can enjoy his use of Cornish light and bright hues in the form of paintings. They can also display paintings from those who were inspired by his influence.

Paul Wadsworth

Paul Wadsworth is an artist who put a fresh spin on Frost’s bold shapes and colors. He is currently based in Cornwall and tutors at the Newlyn School of Art there.

Wadsworth’s work uses bold brushstrokes and noticeable shapes to create striking images. His paintings toe the line between abstract concepts and figurative artwork, meaning that they showcase physical subjects in a more abstract and loosely-formed style.

The figurative aspect of his work draws on the sights found in St Ives and other areas of Cornwall. You can see similar trees, coastlines, and rock formations in his paintings, though he puts a fresh spin on them with abstract, organic shapes. Some paintings also feature people looking at the sights inspired by Cornwall, giving the viewer someone to connect with in their adventures and wonder.

Wadsworth’s extensive travels also mean that he captures the essence of beloved sights in India and the Middle East. These pictures are greatly based on memories, so you can see the sights as Wadsworth emotionally connected with them.

His travels and eye for detail make him an astoundingly talented landscape artist.

Rajasthan garden 100 100cm copy scaled
Rajasthan Garden

Francesca Owen

Francesca Owen is another abstract painter residing in Cornwall. She currently teaches at the St Ives School of Painting. This means that, like Wadsworth, those who buy their work know that they’re purchasing from the best of the best.

Her abstract shapes aim to capture emotional renditions of objects around Cornwall, making her a top-notch abstract expressionist. Natural objects are some of her core inspirations, including flowers and trees. Cornwall’s extensive array of plants and wildlife means that there is a wide range of subjects.

Goddesses and people are also frequent subjects of her paintings. Most of them are enjoying the natural world beside trees or near flowers.

Owen brings the same organic brushstrokes and eclectic lines to her work as other abstract artists do. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and emotionally charged with unique shapes and brushstrokes.

They make great centerpieces for home interiors and gallery walls. They provide some natural-looking decor for any space and get the viewer in touch with the wider world.

The belle flower 100x100cm 4250 scaled
The Belle Flower, Francesca Owen

Sax Berlin

Sax Berlin is an iconic New York artist. Before he moved there, though, he was born in Manchester. He also lived in Cornwall, and you can see the influence of its landscapes and the emotions they brought up in his paintings.

Many people believe Berlin to be the new Picasso. He uses similar organic and sketchy brushstrokes in his paintings.

However, because of his wide portfolio, he also works with many different styles. This ensures that there’s something for everyone who wants to connect with his work in their personal collection or gallery.

Some of his paintings are inspired by children’s artwork, but they have a sophisticated twist that makes them eclectic and museum-quality. Others are complex amalgamations of geometric and organic shapes that invoke the aesthetic of stained glass windows.

Womens Wisdom
Women’s Wisdom, Sax Berlin

Contemporary Art From St Ives

Contemporary art from St Ives takes many styles and meshes them together. Artists who study here have a wide number of sources for inspiration, and landscapes and physical subjects are just as likely to show up as abstract representations of emotions are.

The size and scope of the Cornish art scene make it a grand source of inspiration for many people. Neo-expressionism and cultural values are staples of great artwork, and you know that it’s the best of the best due to its rich art scene and high-quality art education network.

Shop Our Online Art Gallery

Now that you know the ins and outs of artists like Francesca Owen and Paul Wadsworth, it’s time to begin shopping for artwork from St Ives, Cornwall. Our team is committed to offering beautiful original works to gallery owners and private collectors.

We’re excited to help you choose the perfect masterpiece to meet your individual needs. Check out White Court Art’s collections to browse the art we have to offer.

Richard Veal