At the beginning of the Easter holidays, lower and upper sixth art students accompanied art staff to St Ives in Cornwall. 

St Ives was an important player in the international art scene between the wars, following the migration of Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson from London.   Their legacy led to the importance of the St Ives School inspiring artists such as Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, and contemporary artists Naomi Frears and Kurt Jackson today.



Sketching above St Ives.

The newly revamped Tate St Ives is excellent, displaying good examples of St Ives School artists alongside works by Matisse and Picasso. Our students were guided around the displays by a Tate Guide who explained and gave context to St Ives’ cultural significance. This was followed by a visit to Barbara Hepworth’s studio and garden which is magical place to see her work. We were blessed with wonderful weather at the beginning of the trip; it was lovely to sketch the dramatic coastline of Cape Cornwall and Priest Cove in warm sunshine and with sparkling sea. While there, students were tutored by landscape artist Richard Hoare who shared his techniques and methods of responding to the landscape with our group.


Landscape artist Richard Hoarse shares his techniques and methods of responding to the landscape at Priest Cove.

The visit to Geevor Tin Mine was fascinating, particularly discovering that the seams of tin run for several miles out to sea, and to hear the retired miners talk with such great pride about their work. The mine is an extraordinary place to visit giving a great sense of social history as well as having a huge amount to draw, from giant lift shafts and mills to smaller more intimate social areas.

Our last full day was spent working with print-maker Oli West on the cliffs above St Ives. Despite being battered by hail storms our students produced some fantastic dry-point prints, made and printed in-situ.

The work made on the trip will be submitted as part of our students’ exam preparation as well as enhancing their knowledge of art history.

Our students were excellent company for the six days and have come back fizzing with ideas and memories to inspire further work.

Ms MacMillan (Head of Art)

Off to work at Geevor Tin Mine!