Gallery of past work

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Tate St Ives

We had a trip to west Cornwall last week, before we learnt first hand the full implications of social distancing and isolation and the frightening need for it.

We visited Tate St Ives - something we had been wanting to do for some time. The gallery is not large but there was so much to admire. For someone who enjoys modern abstract art as I do, it was fascinating.

What made this collection particularly interesting for me was the strong connection between the place of St Ives and its artists and their work. Most had close direct connections to the town and to West Cornwall and either worked with or were friends of Ben and Winifred Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.

The work in the gallery is drawn from the Tate's own collection and highlights the national and international significance of the historic artist community that continues to thrive in and around the town. There was work to be seen by many well-known 20th century names - Terry Frost, Henry Moore, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, Bridget Riley, Naum Gabo (more of him in another post) and, of course Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. There were also a pleasing number of new-to-me names whose works were also shown.

I've chosen a slightly random selection of works of both kinds that caught my attention and appealed to me for one reason or another. For some pieces, I enjoyed the pleasure of coming close to previously unseen work by favourite well-known artists. For others I've posted, I was attracted from across the room to work by an artist I couldn't give a name to but yet felt a strong impulse to consider more closely.

Firstly, some internationally known names:

Henry Moore: Maquette for Standing Figure

This lovely, delicate little maquette by Henry Moore was made in 1950. It was a model for a much larger bronze sculpture made for Glen Kiln Sculpture Park in Dumfries and Galloway till its theft in 2013. This has very special memories for me as I visited this lovely place with my mother as a teenager in the early 1960s and we saw this and other impressive sculptures. It is a very vivid memory for me and I was delighted to relive the visit through this maquette.

Sir Terry Frost: Black, White and Yellow

Sir Terry Frost's abstracts always appeal to me. It's so often the black and white and the simplicity of the images that call me in and this one was no exception.

Mark Rothco: Untiled 1950-52

Here, an early work by Mark Rothco. His use of luminous layers of colour always fascinates me,

Ben Nicholson: 1934 (relief)
Dame Barbara Hepworth: Curved Form: Trevalgan                                                                                                         

And now, a pair of works by Dame Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson who worked together for almost 20 years, and were married for 13 years. It seemed appropriate to post their work side by side.

And lastly, a small selection of works by new-to-me artists or those whose work I knew of but had rarely seen. Each of these called to me from a distance as I walked around the galleries.

Roger Hilton: 1954                       Kenneth Armitage: People in the Wind        Alberto Burri: Sacco e Rossi 

      Peter Lanyon: Construction                                   William Scott: Berlin Blues                                           Paul Lanyon: Levant Mine Ruins

It seems we just managed our visit to Tate St Ives in time. The gallery closed yesterday because of  the Coronavirus.

Such crazy and worrying times! I hope these images will bring you some cheer in a very small way.


  1. Thank you for sharing your pictures - some beautiful pieces there especially that Rothco. Stay safe. xx

    1. The Rothco just glowed. It was in quite a dark corner but that didn't diminish it at all.
      All in all, it was a great visit to St Ives and the surrounding area. We visited the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Bernard Leach's pottery among other interesting places. I plan especially to post Barbara Hepworth's beautiful sculptures - even on a damp afternoon, they were wonderful.
      Stay safe and well. Margaret

  2. Thanks from me, too !
    It is very inspiring looking at other types fo work ... so different than the stuff I do.
    Brain is sparking !!

    1. It was a great place. It inspired me and has given me lots to think about as we’re required to be at home and we try to stay healthy. Sparking brains is what we all need in these tricky days!
      Stay healthy and safe.


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