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Since the end of the 19th century, the art colonies of Newlyn and St Ives in West Cornwall have provided a focus for art-making in the region. Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo moved to St Ives at the start of WW2, and their presence, together with that of Bernard Leach, helped the town become known across the world for both abstract art and studio pottery.

Peter Lanyon

These four senior figures, through their teaching and inspiration, introduced radical ideas and influences from around the world to an extended generation of younger artists and craftspeople that included Peter Lanyon, John Wells, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Michael Cardew. For 20 or more years St Ives and surrounding areas, were at the forefront of artistic developments in the UK.

Barbara Hepworth
This was recognised in 1993 when the Tate opened a dedicated gallery in the town.

The 'profiles' section contains biographies of individuals that contributed to this story.


Tony 'Doc' Shiels

Tony O'Malley
John Wells
  Pailthorpe and Mednikoff
Marlow Moss
  Bryan Wynter
  Denys Val Baker
  Sven Berlin
John Tunnard
  Ben Nicholson
Henry Scott Tuke
Terry Frost
Patrick Heron
  Wilhelmina Barnes-Graham
Michael Finn
Bernard Leach
Ithell Colquhoun
  Naum Gabo
  David Haughton
  Bob Law