Study Days

Cornish Art History Study Days

In her study days, art historian Catherine Wallace curates three lectures on the same theme using a wide range of stunning visual images. Catherine delivers her lectures with an in-depth knowledge with informative commentary including a wide range of art historical themes from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as details of historically significant artists and contemporary ones. 

These study days are a more concentrated way of learning and are offered both live at venues in Cornwall and online. An itinerary for the day, a list of artists and further reading list of books is supplied either on the day of the live event or via email.

On each study day, whether live or online, there will be a break after each lecture – the first at approx. 11.30 for 30 minutes – and a break for lunch between 1.00 and 2.00pm.

There will be a Question and Answer session at the end of each lecture.

Online Art History Study Days

These study days are recorded and are available to purchase now.

Artist’s Gardens Study Day

Artists have created gardens to inspire their art for centuries. This study day consists of three lectures and  includes a selection of gardens and house owned by artists from Dungeness to Madrid. We look at the history of two great impressionist painters gardens; Monet’s at Giverny with its lily ponds, Japanese bridge and cascading wisteria and Sorolla’s in the heart of Madrid in Spain, with its Andalucian style tiled courtyard. In England, we explore the restored gardens of Kelmscott Manor, home to William Morris and his wide circle of artistic friends and look at the plants that inspired so many of his designs. In the 20th Century, the Bloomsbury group including Venessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry, found Charleston and created a haven for creativity with a garden to paint in and a house to decorate. Also included are the sculpture gardens of Barbara Hepworth in St. Ives in Cornwall and the beach garden of Derek Jarman in Dungeness.

Online vid

 Cost £35


The Mirror Cracked – The Lady of Shalott and Pre-Raphaelite Painters

This Study Day features two lectures on the  Pre-Raphaelite movement of artists. The inspiration of Arthurian legends in their work and their fascination with depicting the poem The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson featuring John William Waterhouse. Followed by a tour of the “The Legend of King Arthur: A Pre-Raphaelite Love Story”  exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery.

Online video
Cost £25  (lectures only)

A Peaceful Haven – Artists of The  Lamorna Valley 

In this study day we look at the wide range of artist who came to live, and work in the Lamorna valley from 1890s – 1955. S.J. Lamorna Birch who arrived with just £15 to his name became synonymous with the valley from 1895 onwards producing 20,000 works of art. Many painters also based themselves in Lamorna  including Frank and Jessica Heath, Robert and Eleanor Hughes, Laura and Harold Knight, Kate Westrup, Munnings, Gluck, Charles and Ella Naper to name just a few. These artists all painted in the figurative tradition but Lamorna was also home to avant-garde artists such as Marlow Moss, John Tunnard, John Armstrong and Ithell Colquhoun.

On Line Video
Cost £35

A Force of Nature: The Art of Dame Laura Knight  

Art History Cornwall Study Days Laura Knight

This study day is a survey of the artistic career of one of Britain’s most popular figurative painters Dame Laura Knight (1877 – 1970. From her early years as a student in Nottingham where she met her future husband Harold Knight to her time in Staithes. We then look at the effect the Cornish light had on her work and the friendships she made whilst in Cornwall. Constantly on the move herself Laura empathised with travellers and performers and we look at various groups she painted including ballet dancers, circus performers and gypsies. We also look at the many portraits she painted including celebrities as well as heroes and heroines of WW2. We end reviewing her late landscapes of The Malvern Hills.

Online video £30

Walter Langley RI (1852-1922)

Walter Langley RI Art History Study

In this study day three different aspects of Walter Langley’s art and life will be explored. Firstly, we will look at how Langley started out in Birmingham as a graphic artist working as a lithographer and his journey as a watercolour painter which brought him to Newlyn after firstly visiting France. We then look at Langley’s masterful watercolour technique and how he used drawings to work out his tones first and create complex figure compositions. We finish by considering Langley’s Social Realist message in his work and placing him in a wider context of other similar painters of rural workers.

Online video £30

Women Artists in Cornwall  (1940  – 2020)

Art History Cornwall Study Days June Mills

This study day focuses on women artists who have lived and worked in Cornwall from the pioneering modernists in the 1940s such as Barbara Hepworth and W. Barns- Graham, through semi- figurative artists such as June Miles and Rose Hilton to the many contemporary artists such as Sarah Adams and Nicola Bealing and many more. The lectures are thematic and include the figure, still life, landscape, seascape as well as expressionist and abstract work.

Recorded online video £35

Nocturnes : The Art of Painting in the Dark

This study day features three lectures on Nocturnes: the art of painting in the dark. The day begins by looking at the pioneer of Nocturne paintings James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903). His influence was global ad he inspired artists such as J.Arnesby Brown, Julius Olsson, Moffat Lindner, Sir S. H.William Llewellyn and Mary McCrossan who all painted nocturnes in St. Ives. Meanwhile Stanhope Forbes in Newlyn became a master of lamplight and firelight paintings alongside other artists who specialised in twilight scenes. We will also look at the influence of John Atkinson Grimshaw and other painters of urban nocturnes including American artists such as Edward Hopper. The theme of nocturnes is brought up to date with the work of contemporary artists such as William Ashley Hold and Benjamin Warner.

Recorded online video £35

The Nicholsons: An Artistic Dynasty

This Study Day explores the Artistic dynasty which is the Nicholson family. Beginning with Sir William Nicholson (1872 – 1949) who was initially a woodblock artist. He then developed his painting style specialising in still lives and landscapes. He was also a successful portrait painter of famous sitters such as J.M Barry, and Gertrude Jekyll. The second lecture looks at William’s son the painter Ben Nicholson’s work and his various experiments from the 1920s – 1950s including primitivism, cubism, and abstraction. The final lecture examines the work of the wives and daughters of William and Ben including Mable Pryde who married William in 1893, Winfred Roberts who married Ben Nicholson in 1920 and Winfred’s daughter Kate also a landscape and still-life painter. We also look at Barbara Hepworth as Ben Nicholson second wife and her influence on him. 

Online video £35

Turner’s Legacy – Impressionists in Venice

This Study Day looks at the fascination that artists have had for Venice since  the early 19th century to the  end of the 20th century. La Serenissima, meaning “ most serene” ,was initially a magnet for Turner.  The legacy of his Venice work was far reaching and he inspired the French and American  Impressionists  such as Claude Monet, Whistler and Sargent to paint what was by the mid 19th century a decaying city.  British artists followed in their footsteps including those who came to or from Cornwall such as Frank Bramley, Henry Scott Tuke, Leghe Suthers, W. H.Y.Titcomb, Mary McCrossan and Terrick Williams. This day of visually rich and colourful imagery ends with artists those who painted Venice in more recent times such as Winston Churchill, Edward Seago and Ken Howard.

YouTube online video £35

Images: Top Photograph of Catherine giving a Lecture by David Morgan. Lamorna Cove by S.J.Lamorna Birch The Lady of Shalott (detail) by J.W.Waterhouse © Falmouth Art Gallery, The Artist’s Garden at Giverny, 1900 by Claude Monet © Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Five Blues 2000 by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham © Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. Dame Laura Knight (photo), The Old Pilot by Walter Langley, Marigolds by June Miles, Nocturne in Blue and Silver Chelsea by James McNeill Whistler © Tate. Miss Simpson’s Boots by William Nicholson, A Venice Canal by Frank Brangwyn @Gracefield Arts Centre