1938 – 2018  CELEBRATING OUR 80TH 



We launch our celebration with consecutive exhibitions at

Penwith Gallery, Back Road West. St Ives TR26 1NL

80 yrs celebrations


St Ives in 1938 – People, Buildings, Events and the Opening of The St Ives School of Painting



10.30am-11.30am £5.50

To coincide with the 80th anniversary of the opening of the St Ives School of Painting in the Porthmeor Studios, in May 1938, Janet Axten, Heritage Manager of St Ives Archive, gives an illustrated talk showing what it was like to live in the town in the year before the start of World War Two.

How to Book Tickets

Buying Tickets Online.

Tickets can be booked online through the Cornish Riviera Booking Office website.

Buying Tickets in person.

Tickets can be bought at the Visit St Ives Information Centre, The Guildhall, Street-an-Pol, St Ives TR26 2DS Tel: 01736 796297 Opening hours: 10am – 5pm daily.

Also: at Tourist Offices in Penzance, Falmouth, St Mawes, Truro, St Austell, Bodmin, Padstow, Looe, Liskeard and Launceston.

Plus: The Heartlands Pool Redruth, Portscatho Post Office and ‘Bookends’ Fowey.

Buying Tickets on the door.

Tickets can be bought on the door, if they are available.



Free entry; donations welcome

The year before War was declared St Ives was both wealthy and very poor, depending on where you lived. Throughout the 1930s the Government had put into effect a national slum clearance programme, and St Ives was identified as being in need of new housing for some of the worst affected families. Borlase Smart, one of the foremost artists in the town, a Town Councillor, a member of the St Ives Chamber of Commerce and campaigner, was very unhappy about the changes he saw going on around him. He wrote a lengthy letter to The St Ives Times on 28th October, which began: “I say that the Town of St Ives is deteriorating. It is fast losing its individuality, the proper type of visitor, and its trade…you [The Chamber of commerce] have allowed the town to decay in individuality (it is now a shadow of its former charm of antiquity)…”

It was in the May, eighty years ago, that Borlase Smart finally encouraged his colleague from the First World War, the painter Leonard Fuller, to move from London to open a School of Painting in the Porthmeor Studios on Back Road West. What kind of town had Fuller come to? How did people make their money? Was the town modernizing out of all recognition? How was it dealing with the holiday makers? As the School celebrates its 80th birthday in the same location, the St Ives Archive will be showing a variety of images – photographs, newspaper cuttings, advertisements and reports – that clearly illustrate the town over that year; a town about which we are still asking these questions, and for many residents is still ‘fast losing its individuality’.


Porthmeor Programme Final Show 

9-17 March


Mixed show of work by students attending our  one-year Porthmeor Programme, which offers semi-professional artists of all ages the chance to study with some of Cornwall’s leading professional artists.


80 – Tutor Show

23 March – 7 April


This second exhibition showcases the talent of the School’s highly regarded artist tutors, and includes work by Alice Mumford, Gary Long, Hilary Gibson, Kerry Harding, Ges Wilson, Amy Albright, Ashley Hold, Emma McClure, Marion Taylor, Liz Hough, Greg Humphries, Ilker Cinarel, Liz Luckwell, and Steve Dove.

We open with a special one-man performance by artist and tutor Ilker Cinarel, and over the duration of the show a series of scheduled events includes live painting demonstrations by Alice Mumford, Gary Long and others, and talks by Liz Luckwell, Marion Taylor, Liz Hough and Hilary Jean Gibson.


Special Events at Penwith Gallery – Free

There’s no need to book for these events.

Friday 23 March

6.30pm – opening of tutor show all welcome

7.30pm – Performance by artist Ilker Cinarel

Saturday 24 March

11am – Artists Liz Hough and Liz Luckwell in conversation

12.45 pm –  Artists Hilary Jean Gibson and Ges Wilson in conversation

Monday 26 March

1pm – Greg Humphries will tell the story of his sculpture “For The Herald of the New Aeon” and be demonstrating some of the traditional techniques used for its construction.

Tuesday 27 March

2pm – Artist talk.  Hilary Jean Gibson will explain what motivates and inspires her working practice as an illustrator, referring in particular to projects and commissions at the National Trust’s properties at Godolphin and Trelissick and St.Ives’ Leach Pottery.

Wednesday 28 March

2pm – Alice Mumford painting demonstration

Thursday 29 March

2pm – Laura Menzies will demonstrate how she uses Cold Wax Medium to build up layers of texture, meaning and depth to her work.

Tuesday 3 April

2pm – Artist Talk.  Hilary will explain what motivates and inspires her working practice as an illustrator, referring in particular to projects and commissions at the National Trust’s properties at Godolphin and Trelissick and St Ives’ Leach Pottery.

Wednesday 4 April

2pm – Alice Mumford painting demonstration

Thursday 5 April

2pm – Marion Taylor in conversation with Roy Ray

Friday 6 April

2pm –  Gary Long will demonstrate a Still Life Study in Gouache


Share A Memory


For our 80th birthday we are gathering together your experiences of coming to St Ives School of Painting. We would love to go as far back in time as possible. If you know someone who went to the School and we may have lost touch with them do let them know about our archive project.

To take part either email us info@schoolofpainting.co.uk   or ask us to send you a special MEMORY CAPTURE CARD  and post back no stamp is needed. We will be sharing a selection on our Facebook page as well as displaying them as part of our pop up archive in this year’s September Festival (see below). They will then become part of St Ives Archive, a permanent resource for the town, documenting its history, culture and stories.



During the September Festival  in collaboration with St Ives Archive. We are asking all our past students to share memories of their time at the School going as far back as we can. The archive volunteers are delving into their collection and our own archive collection to build a sense of how St Ives has changed over the past 80 years as a space to come and make art. They will do a snapshot in time of St Ives in 1938.

Special thanks to our funders who are supporting our Animated Archive during the  September Festival.

Lttle Parc Owles Trust

Cornwall Heritage Trust