The Ringers of Launcells Tower, Frederick Smallfield (1829-1915)
Oil on canvas, English School, 1887. This painting was inspired by the poem 'The Ringers of Launcells Tower' by Rev. R.S. Hawker of Morwenstow in his book 'Cornish Ballads and Other Poems'. In this poem, the bell ringers who rang at the accession of George III in 1760 were still alive to ring at his golden jubilee in 1810. The church of Launcells is midway between Stratton and Bude. The picture was painted 77 years after George III's golden jubilee and so is a total reconstruction. There is, therefore, no possibility that the figures are actual portraits of the 1810 ringers. Nevertheless, Smallfield had visited the church tower before he started the painting but made certain alterations to the layout for artistic reasons. He also studied the bell ringers at his local church in Willesden, north west London, to get the action and the angle of the ropes correct. A watercolour version of this painting was exhibited at the Watercolour Society in 1878. Frederick Smallfield studied at the Royal Academy and subsequently exhibited there several times. He lived for most of his life in London and at Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire.
Cornish tin mines, 19th century
Cornish tin mines, 19th-century artwork. These mines are in the parish of St Just in Penwith, Cornwall, UK. 19th-century tin mines in this area date back to 1721. The workings extended out under the sea for nearly a kilometre, and some of the tunnels were only a few metres below the seabed. The mines employed hundreds of men and reached a depth of 400 metres. Thousands of tons of tin and copper were produced, but most of the mines had closed by the early 20th century. Artwork from the 13th volume (first period of 1894) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.
© SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Irene, Bryan Pearce (1929-2007)
Oil on board, 1975. Bryan Pearce was born in St Ives in 1929 and suffered from the then unknown condition Phenylketonuria, which affects the normal development of the brain. Encouraged by his mother, the painter Mary Pearce, and then by other St Ives artists, he began drawing and painting in watercolours in 1953. His regular walks around St Ives, where he lived all his life, have been the inspiration for his subject matter, unconsciously recording the town's subtle changes. In this synthesis of imagination and reality, Pearce paints the world as he commands it; a sanctuary with an ever-present sun, bathing the streets and houses in the subtlest of colour harmonies. He worked slowly, but consistently, producing around twelve oil paintings a year. Often compared to Alfred Wallis, the late Peter Lanyon said of him: 'Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his painting is original'. His particular experiences of his hometown were captured with unique clarity. Pearce's artistic developments, his simple renditions of space, colour and light, evolve from a sophisticated understanding of composition. He had a career which spanned over fifty years, his paintings seem to evoke a serene sense of place, which seems at once personal yet archetypal. He is now recognised as one of the country's foremost 'naive' painters, through the re-examination of familiar views and landmarks, Pearce offers us his profound, extraordinary experience of St Ives.