Belgrave St Ives - Modern & Contemporary Art

A DISTANT ISLE: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in Lanzarote

Barns-Graham touched down on the island of Lanzarote on Thursday, 16 February, 1989. She had been invited by a friend with whom she stayed, the villa situated on the east coast north of Arrecife, Lanzarote's main town. The visit was a huge success, leading to her making four further visits, the last in 1993.

As well as marvelling at the black rock formations and strange conic hills of the island, Barns-Graham's extensive study of Lanzarote's lava fields is consistent with her interest in geological forms that create the structure of a landscape. Since her move to Cornwall in 1940, her drawings constantly reflect the patterns, natural and man-made, of a place, be it of the Scilly Isles, Switzerland's Grindelwald Glacier (1949), the quarries and ravines of Tuscany/Sicily (1953-1955) or the rocky edge of the Balearics (1958). That she made five trips to Lanzarote in as many years indicates strongly that she found the lava landscape inspiring.

The Lanzarote collection is a remarkable and significant body of work from Willie's later career, the extent of which is yet to be fully assessed. This exhibition, that celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of her first visit, illustrates the breadth of what she achieved.


An exhibition of 10 recent paintings by Mousehole-based painter Jack Watson. In 2018, Jack was one of three artists selected by the gallery for 'Artscape - New Contemporary Painters', a show of works by three young, developing artists with strong links to Cornwall. This new body of work follows a period being mentored by gallery artist Alice Mumford, and follows Watson's ongoing exploration of abstracted figure and place expressed though the medium of paint.

The Gallery Blog is a rich resource of images and background information covering the gallery's ongoing exhibition programme, where you will find installation images, biographical detail and more about current and previous shows. Follow other gallery news on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Belgrave St Ives specialises in Modern British and Contemporary Art. There is an emphasis on work by artists associated with Cornwall from the 1930s to the present time. The gallery is the only private art gallery in Cornwall showing regular exhibitions of work by major artists associated with the St Ives Modern Period as well as exhibitions of works by other select Modern British and Contemporary Artists. The gallery works with a number of artists, artists’ estates, collectors and other galleries, to produce an annual programme of changing monthly one-person and themed exhibitions usually accompanied by published material.

Located in the heart of historic and picturesque St Ives, the gallery is situated very close to the Barbara Hepworth Museum. Opened in 1998 as sister gallery to Belgrave Gallery (est. London 1974), the St Ives gallery became independent in 2010. The gallery aims to present exhibitions in an informative and friendly manner and the staff are always happy to discuss all aspects of art on display. In addition to gallery exhibitions, Belgrave St Ives has an active online presence (website, blog, Facebook) and holds a large inventory of art not on show that can easily be arranged for viewing by interested visitors.

Gallery team: Michael Gaca (Director), Richard Blackborow, Dominica Williamson, Milly Freeman and Polly Carter.