We recently visited the latest exhibition at Penlee House in Penzance and of course a visit to the gallery and museum wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the café’s sunny terrace overlooking the sub tropical gardens. This summer’s exhibition explores the Lamorna (Artist) Colony Pioneers.
You may remember my recent blog, when we explored the coastline between Mousehole and Lamorna ahead of the new exhibition?
More about Penlee House – Art Gallery and museum
Penlee House is a beautiful Italianate villa, originally built for the affluent miller and merchant John Branwell in 1864 and impressively set in parkland that stretches to its lodge in Trewithen Road.
These days the house abuts Morrab road but originally Penlee house Estate would have proudly stood adjacent to Morrab House Estate – the home of the local MP Charles Campbell Ross.
Twin sub tropical Gardens so very near to the Promenade
For garden lovers and casual strollers’ these twin sub tropical gardens remain wonderfully tended and free to explore. Find them just inland up the hill from the Penzance promenade. But today we’re going to visit the house in its incarnation as an Art Gallery!
The Lamorna Colony Exhibition 2023
This exhibition hold examples of the work of all of the Penzance and Newlyn School artists, with a reference to the communities the influenced their lives and work in West Cornwall.
The art historian David Tovey co-curated the exhibition and each painting was accompanied by intriguing paragraphs of information.
The established artists’ paintings here, mingle poignantly with those whose promising work was cut short by the intervention of war.
I could have spent a week in the gallery tying together the loose ends of my mind. For instance there’s a beautiful portrait of Phyllis Yglesias who was involved with the interior of St Hilary church and later became one of the founders of the Mousehole Bird hospital. You can find some snaps of the interior of St Hilary church along with Breage here
Penlee House is packed with exhibits
Finally we climbed the grand staircase, that rises through the beautiful house, to view the wider exhibition and museum exhibits.
Such a power packed presentation of the history; from burial urns to gleaming Newlyn copper; from inspiring and remarkably on trend yet vintage fabric designs to exquisite velvet jackets tailored in Penzance – the list goes on and I would have lingered longer but finally the draw of a cream tea tempted me away. I will say in my defence that this is my second visit to this exhibition and I’ve found something different to admire each time and I dig deeper into the narration of West Penwith!
So time for Tea
There’s at real taste of Italy in the sunny terrace of Penlee house, presided over now by a Kurt Jackson sculpture and lined with generous parasols. As we sat below the Italianate tower of the pristine building, with the sub tropical gardens stretching expansively away, I’m sure it was just the atmosphere that the houses creator whished to instil.
A perfect finish to our visit with the iconic Cornish treat: – the Cream Tea. The scones were moist with a delicate crust, the cream thick and yes there was just the right amount of jam!
When can I see this exhibition?
The Lamorna Pioneers will be available from the 3rd of May until the 30th of September.
We parked in the Wellfields car park (Long stay £2.50) in a quiet corner beside the tennis courts before strolling up through the gardens to Penlee House
- Approach Penzance via the A30, at the first roundabout after Sainsbury’s (Tesco will be on your right) take the second exit (Penzance bypass), signposted ‘A30 Lands End’
- At the next roundabout go straight across
- You will come to another roundabout, take the first left, signposted ‘Penzance, West Cornwall Hospital’
- About a half mile further on, past Penwith College, you will come to a mini roundabout – turn right (West Cornwall Hospital will be on your right)
- Carry on down the hill, past St John’s Hall (on your left) and follow the road round to the right – you will see a pub called the First and Last
- Wellfields Car Park is about 30 metres on your left (there is clear signage)
Use TR18 4HE for sat navs