showcasing the best of the south west

Art in Truro....We Know What We Like

Pictured: Scilly Trefoil by Kurt Jackson

Truro is the new art capital of Cornwall, says Dave Meneer.

Cornwall has been full of art and artists for over a century; most of them “down west” and until recently “down west” was where you had to go to see the county’s finest paintings – to Newlyn or St.Ives. But that’s all changing thanks in part to one street in Truro – Lemon Street. Right at the bottom, actually practically opposite each other, are two very accessible and welcoming galleries chock full this summer season with some of the best the county has to offer – at prices from £150 to £22,000. Ouch!

The more established and the more serious is Lemon Street Gallery whereas the more recent and more accessible is The Lander Gallery in Lemon St market….it has complemented its art with cafes, craft shops and the art of the baker – Baker Tom; so, much more than a gallery and very welcoming because of it. But let’s start with the class act across the road.

This place is almost home to one the country’s most respected and sought after artists – Kurt Jackson and though its lovely summer exhibition features no fewer than 60 paintings and pottery from 15 artists it is still the Kurts that grab you; what is it about his sharp eye and deceptively loose style that draws you in so easily? How can it work 10cm square and over a metre square. Joyous stuff and this collection draws on his time on Scilly – tailor made for the man and his style.

But giving Jackson a run for his money, if we are allowed to talk of art and artists in this manner is Richard Hoare - master of the subtle moody seascape who is the featured artist of this lovely show. And not to be forgotten is work all the way from Scotland by the magical Ronald Smith, indeed it is one of his in the window designed to lure you in; which it has no trouble in doing.

The Amalfi Coast by Ronald Smith

Across the road we are into a more traditional look at Cornwall but a beautiful one none the less. And there’s plenty of it - 100 canvasses in all and something for everyone – adults and kids alike – serious collectors and those who simply 'know what they like'. I have always liked Nancy Bailey’s dramatic cliffscapes and she has a real winner here in “Botallack” from 1956; sadly she died only this year aged 99.

And from her to Cathy Stringer’s lovely studies of children on the beach – little gems and wonderfully priced.

Then there’s Richard Lannowe Hall’s wonderful mottled, muted palette and Joanna Commings’ coastal landscapes; it's the classic summer on the beach exhibition.

Surfers at the end of the day: Richard Lannowe Hall

But away from that there are works by Henrie Pilcher from 1910 and an unmistakeable big Lenkiewicz – price on application! Has he really been dead 10 years? There’s a wonderful “Dying light” by Charles Walker Simpson from 1936 and then an iconic series of GWR railway posters from the 40’s and 50’s. It’s a joy.

If you’re in Truro do both and take a coffee or lunch at the café which is surrounded by all this talent in the Lander Gallery. An hour well spent for adults and kids. A wonderful hour in Cornwall’s new art capital – Lemon Street Truro.





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