Penwith Society of Arts

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Fishing lofts on Porthmeor Beach

The Penwith Society of Arts is an art group formed in St Ives, Cornwall, England, UK, in early 1949 by abstract artists who broke away from the more conservative St Ives School.[1] It was originally led by Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, and included members of the Crypt Group of the St Ives Society, including Peter Lanyon and Sven Berlin. Other early members included: Leonard Fuller, Isobel Heath, Alexander Mackenzie, John Wells, Bryan Wynter, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, David Haughton, Denis Mitchell, and the printer Guido Morris. Herbert Read was invited to be the first president.[2]

The group bought fishing lofts along Porthmeor beach to use as artists' studios, after an acrimonious split from the established St Ives Society of Artists. Then on 8 February 1949, after a town meeting at the Castle Inn, a dissident group set up shop in Fore street, St Ives. In 1960 and old pilchard factory was taken over with converted studios above. After ten years of sincere guidance and deep interest, funds raised by Barbara Hepworth, with the aim of converting adjacent buildings into studios for craft and sculpture as well as painting expanded the project still further at Back Road, St Ives. In 1967 Kathleen Watkins was appointed curator and secretary (1967-2013) of the society advising, among other things, clients on potential purchases. [3]

Current full members

The current full members were at 2013:

  • Noel Betowski
  • Jason Lilley
  • Naomi Frears
  • Mary Crockett
  • Anthony Frost
  • Sutton Taylor
  • Simeon Stafford
  • Rachael Kantaris
  • Clive Blackmore
  • Chris Buck
  • Stephen Clutterbuck
  • Roy Conn
  • Margrit Clegg
  • July Collins
  • Peter Wray
  • John Emmanuel
  • Paul Feiler
  • Alan John
  • Liz Hunter
  • Robert Jones
  • Kathy McNally
  • June Miles
  • Kate Nicholson
  • Daphne McClure
  • Sheila Oliner
  • John Piper
  • Mike Praed
  • Lieke Ritman
  • Tommy Rowe
  • Jennifer Semmens
  • Vincent Wilson
  • Mark Verry
  • Michael Sheppard
  • Debbie Prosser
  • Jane Yates
  • Christine Feiler
  • Paula Downing


  1. ^ "Penwith Society of Arts | Tate". 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Herbert READ | cornwall artists index". 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  3. ^ Michael Bird. "Kathleen Watkins". Retrieved 27 May 2017.

External links[edit]