Belgrave St Ives - Modern & Contemporary Art

Denis Mitchell

Denis Mitchell (1912-1993)

Born: Middlesex

Moved to Cornwall: 1930


Denis Mitchell was central to the modern movement in St. Ives from the late 1940s. He moved from Swansea to St. Ives to set up a market gardening business and to paint. Previously, he had worked in a commercial art studio and had designed sets for the theatre in his spare time.

Denis Mitchell had no previous training in fine art, but his style matured into the late 1940s. He started to carve, due in large to his experience of tin mining during the war and after becoming the main assistant to Barbara Hepworth from 1949-59. Working initially with wood, slate and stone, he eventually found his own forms and visual language in sand-cast bronze. He is remembered for his outstanding polished forms.

In 2005, a celebratory exhibition was held as Tate St. Ives, in which bronzes from the 1960s and 70s and several carvings in wood, slate and stone from the 1970s and 80s were drawn together.