Our latest collection was inspired by the work of artist, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. The Penwith painter used sensitive linear marks to illustrate her coastal surroundings, working in rich and soft natural shades that reflect the landscape through the seasons.
Amy, manager at our St Ives shop, fondly remembers Wilhelmina popping in to chat about our latest prints and colours.
She was constantly inspired by the Cornish coastline and particularly the waves and occupants of Porthmeor Beach
To find out a bit more about this incredible artist, we spoke to Geoffrey Bertram, the Chair of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Charitable Trust
“Wilhelmina Barns-Graham stepped off the train in St Ives on a wet March evening in 1940. She quickly met other artists in the area including Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Borlase Smart, and Bernard Leach, who was to become something of a father figure for her.
Modernist British art was making progress in this small Cornish town and Willie, as she was known, fit right in. She stayed there for the rest of her life, working in the Porthmeor Studios initially before buying a house in the Barnaloft Piazza in 1963.
She was constantly inspired by the Cornish coastline and particularly the waves and occupants of Porthmeor Beach that she could watch from her sitting room widow that overlooked it.
The colours of the landscape created her palette, the forms shaped her images. Her heightened sense of colour, brought about in part through her synaesthesia, resulted in her making vividly dynamic paintings.”
We’re very grateful to the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, who have kindly contributed to this text and given permission for us to use all featured images.
The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust was founded by Willie in 1987, but only became fully active upon her death on 26 January 2004. The Trust exists to enhance the reputation and understanding of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham as one of Britain’s most significant 20th century artists, and through her legacy supports young people and other individuals to fulfil their potential in the visual arts.