‘Amongst Heroes: the artist in working Cornwall’
26 January – 14 April 2013

A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach by Stanhope A. Forbes, RA (1857 – 1947), oil on canvas; dated 1885 From the collections of Plymouth City Council (Museums and Archives) / © Bridgeman Art Library

Two Temple Place will re-open in January as part of its series to annually showcase collections from outside central London. The second exhibition, in partnership with the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, brings to London the most significant grouping of Cornish artworks to be displayed outside of the region in recent decades. ‘Amongst Heroes: The Artist In Working Cornwall’ re-approaches the work of pioneering Newlyn and St Ives artists — widely regarded to be an English response to Impressionism. Focusing on representations of the figure at work, primarily between 1880 and 1920, the exhibition highlights the remarkable art produced in Cornwall at this time, celebrating a way of life now long gone.

The latter decades of the nineteenth-century saw the founding of artistic colonies on Cornwall’s Penwith Peninsular, beginning a tradition of art in the region that remains today. Artists were attracted to the region by low living costs, a picturesque coastline, and the ready availability of inexpensive local models. Whilst St Ives artists focused on landscape, Newlyn artists painted figurative scenes of local fishing and agricultural activity. Paintings by artists such as Stanhope Forbes, Harold Harvey, and Charles Napier Hemy are epic in the sweep of their compositions, sincerity of observation and sensitivity to the extraordinary Cornish light. Their work combines naturalism with rich narrative, and an admiration for the skills and craftsmanship of the working men and women depicted. The exhibition presents paintings from the Royal Cornwall Museum, and from many public and private collections in Cornwall and further afield. They are shown in the company of historical artifacts featured in their images, including a traditional oyster dredger, net-making tools, and a mining handcart from St Just. It examines a keen and longstanding artistic interest in the local industrial landscape of West Cornwall, offering a new insight into Cornish art that considers the geography of place as well as the history and narrative of the paintings displayed. Two Temple Place had a triumphant start with its first exhibition in October 2011. The building itself is an extraordinary architectural gem, built as an estate office for William Waldorf Astor in the late 19th century. As with the inaugural show, ‘William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth’, the works from ‘Amongst Heroes’ were made during the same period as Astor’s mansion was built, and their setting will furnish an illuminating context. Last year’s exhibition attracted enormous media interest, with over 51,000 members of the public visiting during its three-month run, including over 1,000 London primary school children who enjoyed imaginative storytelling workshops inspired by the works on display. A complementary season of events proved similarly popular and included lectures, dance, ballet and concert performances produced in partnership with a varied group of charities supported by the Bulldog Trust. A similarly ambitious and far-reaching programme of events is planned for ‘Amongst Heroes.’ The exhibition series at Two Temple Place aims to provide opportunities for emerging curatorial talent under the guidance of Martin Caiger-Smith, Head of the Courtauld’s MA Programme ‘Curating the Art Museum’. The forthcoming show will be curated by Roo Gunzi, who is currently completing a PhD at the Courtauld Institute on Newlyn painter Stanhope Forbes, many of whose works will be included. For press images and further press information please contact: Rhiannon Pickles, Pickles PR E: T: 0031 20 620 0369 E: T: 00 44 740 278 4470 For other information please contact: Dale Wilson, Exhibition Organiser Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD E: T: 020 7836 3715

Notes: 1. Two Temple Place is wholly owned by the Bulldog Trust, Registered Charity No 1123081. 2. Two Temple Place building is closed to the public until January 2013 but continues to be available for private or commercial hire during this period. 3. The Royal Cornwall Museum is owned and managed by the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Registered Charity 221958

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