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Visit Penlee House & Museum

Penlee House is a Gallery, Museum, Cafe and Shop. Situated within Penlee Park, a space to reflect and great for family visits.

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A space for exhibitions & events

Alongside our Exhibition programme we run a variety of community events and workshops. The Newlyn School and Social history galleries change often. Find out what’s on.

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A space to learn

Penlee House is committed to lifelong learning. We run workshops for all age groups and offer a school workshop programme.

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A space for all

Built in 1865, as the home of the Branwell family. Penlee House is home to many paintings by members of the Newlyn School. It is also home to the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society collection.

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You can search and browse our collections online. We also have a section dedicated to the Newlyn School.

A Newlyner from St Ives: W H Y Titcomb (1858 – 1930)

12 April 2003 until 7 June 2003

Over the Easter and early Spring period, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance is showing a major exhibition of paintings by ‘A Newlyner from St. Ives’, William Holt Yates Titcomb (1858-1930).

Titcomb settled in St. Ives in 1887, but his paintings of the Cornish fishing community bear much closer relationship to the Newlyn painters than to the art normally associated with St. Ives.  A figure painter in the realist style, shaped by his training in Paris and Antwerp, his work has been favourably compared to that of Stanhope Forbes and Frank Bramley, amongst others.

Among the works on show is the superb painting entitled ‘Old Sea Dogs’ (on loan from Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery).  The painting shows three old fishermen sitting on a bench by the sea enjoying their memories as the light fades over St. Ives Bay.  

In addition to their contrasting poses and bushy beards, Titcomb has highlighted their distinctive headgear.  This must be the period  – which Stanhope Forbes later recalled with horror – “when a hideous fashion in hats set in – a hard, black abomination in place of the usual soft sailor-like head gear or quaint old sou’wester”.  

When looked at close up, the paint has been applied in bold, thick seemingly random brushstokes, and yet viewed overall the creases and folds of clothing, and texture and age of skin, all magically emerge from the colourful cacophony, helped by the strong, directional impulse of the broad strokes.  

Among Titcomb’s best known works are his three paintings of the Primitive Methodist congregation at the Fore Street Chapel, St Ives.  Titcomb was fascinated by the fervour and sincerity of the faith of the fisherfolk and he thought, in 1888, when he painted Primitive Methodists at Prayer, that he was capturing the dying days of the sect as the congregation had dwindled to under 100.  However, revivals in 1889 and 1905 dramatically boosted converts. 

In his life-time, Titcomb was highly respected and achieved considerable success, exhibiting some 46 works at the Royal Academy and attaining international recognition with medals at exhibitions in Paris and Chicago.  Since his death, however, his work has largely vanished into obscurity.  

This exhibition will be the largest showing of his work yet held in Cornwall, incorporating many of his major paintings from public collections throughout the country.  Penlee House Gallery & Museum are sure that all those who see it will remember the name – and become fans of – W.H.Y. Titcomb.

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Visit Us

Penlee House is a beautiful art gallery and museum, set within sub-tropical gardens, with a great café.

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Exhibitions

Our vibrant exhibition programme celebrates the nationally important art and history of West Cornwall.

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Learning

From school visits to family activities, talks and walks, there are plenty of learning opportunities at Penlee House.

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Our Café

Enjoy a delicious lunch or coffee at the Orangery Café, with its sunny terrace overlooking the park.

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