Banner image: Detail of Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) Fenestration of the Ear (The Microscope), 1948 Oil & pencil on gesso-prepared board © Bowness

Following the development of the Great Western Railway to West Cornwall in 1877, artists Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood took a trip to the remote Cornish town, where they met amateur painter and St Ives resident, Alfred Wallis. Wallis’ uncomplicated way of painting the coastline had an intense impact on Nicholson, who later, in 1939, settled in the town with his then-wife, the renowned Barbara Hepworth.

Led by these two artists, the “St Ives School” became a post-war centre for modern and abstract developments of British art, and painters and sculptors from all over the world travelled to the unique destination to absorb the surroundings, using the dramatic shapes, forms and colours of the landscape and weather as motivation to inspire their art.

Inspired by the fishing town of St Ives in West Cornwall, The Ingram Collection: The St Ives School explores the modern and abstract developments in British art since the beginning of the twentieth century. The exhibition includes landscapes, portraiture and still-life works from The Ingram Collection, including Paul Feiler, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon and Bryan Wynter.

125 years since Ben Nicholson’s birth, the exhibition highlights the special quality of light, shape and space of the West Cornish town. Displaying paintings by artists such as Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, who drew inspiration from both her St Andrews roots and St Ives hometown, and pioneer of abstract art, Roger Hilton, the exhibition will display artworks from The Ingram Collection to celebrate the St Ives School’s unique, modern depictions of the small fishing town.

For Barbara Hepworth, drawing was intimately connected to her sculpture and to the way she understood the world around her. Join writer, art historian and broadcaster, Michael Bird, on Thursday 9 May to discuss the different dynamics of the artist’s abstract and figurative drawings, their roots in the ideals of twentieth century modernism, and their place in the new landscape of post-war Britain, in A New Movement: Where Did Drawing Take Barbara Hepworth?

Read more about the St Ives School here.

The exhibition is open until 23 June 2019.