A Shy Cornishman
The artist Claughton Pellew 1890-1966
Cornwall has been the inspiration for generations of artists and writers. Here is an exception, a Cornishman, the last of his family to be born in Cornwall, who by circumstance became exposed to quite different artistic influences and, instead of returning to his native land, chose to live in isolation on the windy north Norfolk coast. From there his visions of the countryside around him began to flow like a dream.
He seemed fated to work for and help others and denied himself the full exercise of his talents. Poor dear man he was the most unselfish of beings
”, wrote the artist John Nash of his lifelong friend Claughton Pellew.
Claughton was a landscape artist who sought obscurity but found himself playing an important role when his perceptions of English pastoral peace and harmony, translated into water-colour and wood engraving, led the way out of the trauma inflicted on the country by the First World War. Even today, eighty years after the main body of his work was completed, his burning affection for the rural scenes of the past shines through.
“Rick tops” 1914
, watercolour with pen and ink, gouache & chalk. Claughton saw hayricks
“as more than an incidental feature of the landscape; their height dominate
s the surroundings
and makes them a fitting emblem of the climactic moment of harvest”
The brothers Paul and John Nash, who became two of the most influential English landscape painters of the last century, were each of them fired up by
the young Claughton’s romantic approach
, and by the intensity of his love for the countryside and its features. Paul trained with Claughton at the Slade in London, where their contemporaries included such future luminaries of the art world as Ben Nicholson, Stanley Spencer and Christopher Nevinson (pictures and details of these and other
are at page 30).