Cornwall Contemporary 1 Parade Street, Penzance

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Daphne and Emma McClure – Mother and Daughter exhibition | 15 May 2017

Cornwall Today, April 2017

Daphne McClure and Emma McClure at Cornwall Contemporary

This very special exhibition marked the first time artists Daphne and Emma McClure had exhibited together in more than 10 years. Both artists have hugely successful painting careers in their own right and this joint show had been highly anticipated amongst their many collectors and admirers.

Daphne and Emma are inspired by the landscape they call home, and there is an obvious connection between their paintings in terms of subject matter: cows in a Cornish field, a vase of flowers on a table, boats moored in a harbour…. But where Daphne’s paintings are more expressive, perhaps led more by instinct, Emma’s studies feel more carefully composed, more thought out, with a coastal-inspired softer palette. Both demonstrate a masterly handling of composition and paint, and both have the ability to keep evolving the way they work, developing their own unique voice on the canvas. “It didn’t feel unusual that my mother was an artist when I was growing up,” says Emma, who studied at Falmouth School of Art, Winchester School of Art and Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 1985 with an MA in painting. “It felt very natural to have a creative mother. She was always painting or making something and it was a very creative household. The decision to go to art school was the most interesting option available, “ she says. “I never felt the need to rebel against it, just because it’s what my mother did.” Daphne, of course, spotted her daughter’s talent: “Emma showed an aptitude from an early age for drawing and painting, so it wasn’t a surprise to see her follow in my footsteps.”

And what footsteps…. Born in Helston, Cornwall, Daphne attended Hornsey College of Art and Central School of Art. After graduating and spending 5 years working in the costume department at The Royal Opera House (working on costumes for the likes of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev) she returned home to Cornwall and has been painting ever since. Daphne is now considered to be the Grande Dame of the Cornish art world – in 1995 she was commissioned by Tate, St. Ives to design a piece of work for its inaugural exhibition, and in 2004, she was invited by the Josef Albers Foundation to undertake an artist residency in Connecticut, USA. Both Daphne’s and Emma’s paintings can be found in private collections worldwide. After living and working in London for many years, Emma now lives near Penzance, not far from her mother. She has enjoyed many successful solo exhibitions in Cornwall and London and her compositions capture serenity and balance with an often playful humour and an underlying, deceptive simplicity. “I really admire mum’s sense of design and originality as well as her bold and direct approach. We start each painting in a similar way. We both like to work in series, exploring certain themes, and the starting point is always to observe and sketch and then develop the painting in the studio from drawings and memory.” Daphne agrees. “With both of us working in close proximity to each other, I’m sure there is cross fertilisation within our inspiration, but any influence on each other is subconscious,” she says. “If we were to paint the same vista, we would end up with completely different paintings. I’m sure we would find a different focus.” Emma concludes, “Because she’s such a good artist, there’s been quite a lot to live up to, but I don’t think it’s always helpful to make too many comparisons to each other. We sometimes ask for each other’s opinion on a new work. I value her opinion, and I think she values mine.”

Excerpt from “Joint Enterprise – Daphne and Emma McClure” by Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge in the Spring 2017 edition of Manor Magazine

“My Beautiful Mermaid” | 17 April 2017

“I love my Melissa Kiernan Mermaid sculpture and cannot believe you still have some of her works available. They’re all so delicate and spiritual and deep and symbolic and beautiful! Thank you for introducing me!!”

We love to see where some of our pieces have ended up and this beautiful sculpture by Melissa Kiernan looks superbly at home here. We have a few of Melissa’s works available in the gallery and we’re excited to say that she is currently working on a new collection of sculptures for us that should be in the gallery soon.

Ken Spooner ‘Symbiosis’ solo exhibition | 24 March 2017

NOUN Biology 1[mass noun] Interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.

We were delighted to recently hold the 3rd private view for a solo exhibition of work at the gallery by multi talented artist Ken Spooner.





















Ken Spooner paints in oil and acrylic, he hand sculpts in clay, he welds steel, he carves wood. He sees the world through the relationship of materials, how they can be used, manipulated, melded and blended to create his unique and visionary works of art. Everything is seen through eyes and hands that “wonder what I can turn this into?”
The resulting paintings, ceramics and sculpture bear the quality of being only one of their kind and yet also sit alongside each other creating a “symbiosis” and bearing that unmistakable Ken Spooner singularity and inventiveness.

He is truly a remarkable artist.

The exhibition has been an enormous success with many sales and a lot of very impressed visitors. Here are just a few snippets from our visitor’s book:

“Wonderful ceramics” – “How we have loved looking at this quite remarkable collection today” – “Great stuff, loved it!” – “Fantastic show” – “I love this show. How lovely and exciting and full of integrity and HEART” – “Love Ken Spooner’s work” – “Lovely show” – “love the ceramics and sculptural works” – “One of my favourite artists.”


Selected Commissions and Projects

Original paintings on several super yachts.
Ignition – hardback book accompanying solo exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary
Terence Disdale Design
Rose Barber Film Company
Decor Gallery
NEC Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
Wedgewood Memorial Garden, Staffordshire
3 years on projects with William Mitchell Design, High Wycombe
British Libraries Millennium Memory Bank
BBC Home Services as guest for Arts Design
Short film by BBC about work and working methods
work in private collections worldwide

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2017 – ‘Symbiosis’ Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance
2015 – ‘Art Will Drown your Eyes’ Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance
2014 – ‘Ignition’ Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance
2011 – Millennium, St. Ives
1992 – 99 – Gallery Five o ‘Clock, Switzerland
1980 – 85 – Gallery Country West, San Fransisco, USA

The exhibition continues until 1st April 2017

View a selection of work in the exhibition here.

Caroline Pedler “An-ti-dote” exhibition | 24 March 2017

an-ti-dote – a collage a day for 366 days

Starting out in 2016, Cornish Artist and Illustrator Caroline Pedler set herself a task of completing an image a day for 366 days, (2016 – leap year).

The daunting task of creating an image every single day resulted in a staggering 366 pieces of original collages which were exhibited in their entirety in the Attic Gallery at Cornwall Contemporary through March 2017.

‘The driving force was to create a style that fits outside my commercial children’s books. Producing an image a day, forces you to make, regardless of mood, time, ability and inclination and without distraction.’
The downfall of having to post every day means you are vulnerable to those pieces you are not happy with and uncomfortable about posting, but I knew that if I didn’t post one day, I would lose interest and momentum, so kept going, day after day.
The upside is that I have a new body of work, a new website, new workshops and have generated various streams of interest throughout the year including a publisher or two.’
My goal for 2017 is to create my own children’s book in this style, sourcing from the characters and elements from this 366 project I’m loving the process already and can’t wait to get a publisher involved and get it out there in the world.”
Caroline teaches on a part time basis on BA and MA Illustration at Plymouth College of Art, mentors adult creatives, runs various creative adult and children’s workshops around Cornwall and continues to exhibit her fine art work locally. She has also illustrated over 50 children’s picture books, of which the majority, sell in 23 languages, in 28 countries around the world.

Cornwall Life Magazine – Leading Ladies | 17 February 2017


Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge Cornwall Life Magazine


Kristin Vestgard ‘The Red String’ exhibition | 9 November 2016

We were delighted recently to stage an exhibition of paintings by Norwegian artist Kristin Vestgard.

Kristin Vestgard at her exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary art gallery in Penzance, Cornwall

It was a truly wonderful collection of portrait and still life paintings by the Falmouth College of Art graduate. Her oil paintings convey fragility and beauty, strength and delicacy, tenderness and emotion and a serenity that feels meditative and ethereal.

“I want my figures to be in a flux like moment. I keep painting until they have the right atmosphere, and it must be a gentle balance of both being here and not here – fleeting but with a nerve. To have a playfulness running in and out of the layers of oil paint, with a deep sincere essence holding it together.”

Kristin Vestgard exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary galleryPainting of a lady gardener holding pot plants by Kristin Vestgard Kristin Vestgard painting "No Words" at Cornwall Contemporary beautiful portrait painting by Kristin Vestgard of a young woman wearing a yellow dress with a colourful necklace















Kristin lived in Falmouth, Cornwall for ten years after graduating from art college and made many friends and established herself in the Cornish art scene as a highly collectable artist. Kristin flew over especially for the private view from Norway and we were thrilled to have her at the gallery where people were overjoyed to see her work back in Cornwall again. Throughout the duration of the show, we had a very high number of visitors, including two fans of her work who made the 800 mile round trip from West Yorkshire to Penzance, especially to see the exhibition:

“A privilege to see Kristin’s work in the flesh again after more than 10 years. A moving experience, I love these paintings so much. This is what art is about. 

Thank you Cornwall Contemporary for getting Kristin’s work over to the UK again. Totally worth our journey from West Yorkshire especially for this show. Blown away. Huge thanks from the bottom of my heart” Caroline and Julian 

The show was an enormous success and we had many sales and press reviews – 

a review in My Cornwall magazine of Kristin Vestgard's exhibition at Cornwall Contemporarykristin-review-page-2kristin-vestgard-newspaper-review-of-her-show-at-cornwall-contemporary-gallery-in-penzance“Their mix of fragility and strength, bound by that very same red string perhaps, lends her paintings a quality that defies description but is very special…”

You can see the paintings that featured in the exhibition here and we’re delighted to announce that there will be a second solo exhibition by Kristin at Cornwall Contemporary in 2017.


Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

Director, Cornwall Contemporary

Charlotte Jones Ceramics Studio Visit | 26 September 2016

After exhibiting the ceramics of Charlotte Jones in Cornwall Contemporary for the last ten years, I thought it was high time I visited her studio to see her at work and talk to her about her creative process. 


The studio itself is stunning and hand built by her furniture-maker husband Ron. The attention to detail is incredible (and mirrors much of Charlotte’s workmanship in her own creative practice).

After working in their house for years and years (a converted chapel with tantalising sea glimpses) Charlotte finally got a designated studio-haven at the bottom of the garden in January this year. At first I couldn’t quite believe that it was a making studio and not just a show room as it was pretty immaculate for a ceramics studio – even her wheel was suspiciously clean! But she is a firm believer in cleaning up her space at the end of each day and keeping some semblance of order in the studio. 


After being surrounded by Charlotte’s ceramics for the last decade – both in the gallery and in my own home, it was a very special experience to see her in action and to learn more about the painstaking and time consuming methods that she uses. Each vessel is started on the wheel to create a strong base and then a combination of slab and coil work is used to complete each pot. All the clay used is local – with Charlotte often sourcing and digging the clay herself. In fact she told me she was keeping an eye on a piece of land in a nearby field and was pleased to see cattle in there as she could see the cows nicely treading and working the clay each time they walked past.


Not only does Charlotte source her own clay, she also adds earth and mineral pigments to the clay to create colour, as unusually for a potter, none of Charlotte’s bowls and pots are glazed, yet still remain water tight and functional. So colour is added to the actual clay and runs throughout the fabric of the pot, rather than being added on as surface decoration after the pot is fired. This is a very lengthy and involved process and speaks volumes of Charlotte’s patience and dedication to each vessel as some bowls can be worked on for weeks and weeks before they’re finished.

studio-dog All of Charlotte’s inspiration is sourced from nature and each working day starts with walking the dog through surrounding fields and countryside, where field shapes and patterns and gradated landscape horizons can spark an idea back in the studio. She has a strong work ethic and is in the studio working every day from 10am onwards, and can often find herself there until the evening. She recently allowed herself a week off and spent all of it sketching and painting, creating source material for future works. Shells hold a particular fascination for her and she can look at them in the most minute detail, noting a particular subtle line of pink on the underside which will be then translated into a pot.



ideas-and-inspiration-board-in-the-studio-of-charlotte-jones charlotte-jones-potterya-collection-of-objects-in-charlotte-jones-pottery-studioCharlotte’s pottery has become highly collectable and sought after over the years and rightly so. I know from my own personal experience how special each piece becomes to the owner and I was recently contacted by a customer in Australia who had bought a small pot by Charlotte some years ago and was desperate to buy a replacement for it after breaking it. I luckily had a bowl that was similar in size and colour and he was delighted to receive it (the postage paid, far exceeded the price of the pot!) The most common question I’m asked in the gallery is “but are they functional?” and yes they are, it was a particular treat to see a stack of Charlotte’s bowls above the cooker in her kitchen as I, and I think most people who buy them, treat them in a very revered kind of way, but they are fully intended to be functional pieces and particular care is taken to ensure they hold liquid and can be used in a variety of ways. And I think that’s why I’m so drawn to Charlotte’s work – as each one is a work of art in it’s own right, while straddling that art/ function divide. Each bowl is incredibly tactile and holds my interest like a piece of sculpture.

You can view pieces in the range of pottery by Charlotte Jones that we have in the gallery here.


Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

Director, Cornwall Contemporary

10th Anniversary Press | 20 September 2016


We received a great deal of press throughout our 10th Anniversary Exhibition, here is one press cutting written by arts writer for Cornwall, Frank Ruhrmund –

“It was on September 1, 2006 that Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge took possession of what was then a neglected but listed building in the heart of Penzance, and began the long haul of converting it, as she says ‘Into an attractive venue for showcasing and highlighting the quality and quantity of art in this part of the world.’

“Since then she has not only mounted 136 exhibitions, but has also been part of a number of art fairs and pop up shows at various venues in the UK, working with hundreds of different artists – ‘It has been, and still is, a joy to work with so many talented, creative people. The paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics and jewellery that have come in and out of the gallery throughout the years, bear testament to West Cornwall’s thriving art scene, plus I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know all the people who have come through the door.’

“A graduate twenty years ago from falmouth College of Arts, and author in 2001 of the acclaimed and authoritative Behind the Canvas – 40 artists, living and working in Penwith, Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge is passionate about the artists and artworks she exhibits and aims to provide an excellent service for them and for her customers alike. She has a deep understanding of the placing of art in residential and business locations, and is only too happy to advise first time buyers as well as anyone who wishes to add to his or her collection.

“Set on three floors, Cornwall Contemporary is surprisingly spacious: its monthly changing exhibitions are mounted on the ground floor, while the upper floors share ever changing displays of art works by the gallery’s regular contributors plus the occasional pop-up show and capsule exhibition….  The Anniversary Exhibition emphasises all she has said about her aims for the gallery, its reasons for being there, and should not be missed.”


Gallery of the Month | 20 September 2016

Cornwall Contemporary Gallery of the Month

We recently enjoyed a lot of press relating to our tenth anniversary at the gallery and My Cornwall Magazine made us their Gallery of the Month:

“In the heart of Penzance, at the gateway of its charismatic Chapel Street, Cornwall Contemporary gallery has proudly stood as a pillar of the art community. Now as it reaches its tenth year, myCornwall speaks to its director, Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge, about the impressive and influential run this notable gallery has had on Cornwall.

“From the outside, Cornwall Contemporary’s size does it little justice, set across three floors, this spacious gallery housed inside listed premises, hosts a variety of evenly and beautifully spread artwork – every piece is different but all posses the Cornwall Contemporary feel.

“The ground floor is primarily for changing exhibitions, whilst the gallery artists along with special capsule installations use the upper two floors. Opened in 2006 by artist and art distributor Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge, Cornwall Contemporary has had a place in Penzance for the last decade, an achievement few galleries have rarely accomplished.

“Many of Sarah’s artists are firm friends formed over a decade of hard work to get Cornwall Contemporary where it is today…. When it comes to selecting new artists to work with, Sarah is meticulous about her selection – “There are no rules to follow, it’s just if I really like it” explains Sarah, “I never think ‘my customers are going to like this’ or ‘I’m definitely going to sell this’ it is about ‘would I have this on my wall? Does this say something to me personally? You have to be very clear about what you like and for me it’s never been about the financial side, coming from an artistic background myself, I don’t approach anything with a business head, and I think that’s why Cornwall Contemporary has done so well.’

“It’s safe to say that Cornwall Contemporary has become a notable part of the face of Penzance and Cornwall’s art scene, having a strong influence, not just due to its impressive history, but also in the deliberation and consideration of its exhibiting and collaborating artists.”

MyCornwall Magazine, August/ September 2016

Our 10th Anniversary! | 29 August 2016

We have officially been open for 10 years here at Cornwall Contemporary and we have been busy celebrating!

private view at Cornwall Contemporary

Cornwall Contemporary opened on 1st September 2006. Taking on a run down listed building in the heart of Penzance, it was my intention to turn it into a venue to showcase and highlight the quality of art in Cornwall. Over the last ten years we have staged 136 exhibitions in the gallery plus numerous art fairs and pop ups in London and around the UK, working with hundreds of artists.

private view

Our grand opening of Cornwall Contemporary on 1st September 2006.

The paintings, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics and jewellery that we have shown over the years are all a testament to the thriving art scene of Cornwall and beyond. It’s been a joy to run Cornwall Contemporary and establish a name for the gallery. I like to hope that I’ve staged an eclectic mix of vibrant and interesting shows over the years with artists exhibiting from as far and wide as the USA and Norway. I am still full of ideas for future exhibitions and there are many artists that I now consider to be close friends, which has been the best part of the job. me-and-ken  

Cornwall Contemporary art gallery was featured in the Saturday Guardian newspaper in the Get Togethers section featuring a dinner party at Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge's house. The guests included artists Neil pinkett, Daphne McClure, Emma McClure, Janet Lynch and Maggie Matthews. The photographer was Guardian photographer Jim Wileman.Maggie Fiona Sarah Emma fpr printSarah Brittain-Mansbridge and Neil Pinkett with Alasdair Lindsay at the opening of Cornwall Contemporary's exhibition in Shoreditch in 2012for webele and al














Our opening night of the 10th Anniversary show had a party atmosphere with plenty of bubbles and we even had a resident gallery mermaid in tow! 

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge at Cornwall Contemporary

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge and her mermaid friend celebrating 10 years at Cornwall Contemporary!The exhibition has so far been an enormous success with numerous sales of paintings and sculpture already in the first couple of weeks.





Work in the exhibition can be seen here and the show runs until 10th September – don’t miss the chance to come along and see the very best in painting and sculpture in Cornwall.

And I’d also like to take this opportunity to again thank all of the artists who have exhibited at Cornwall Contemporary over the last 10 years – here’s to the next!


Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

Director, Cornwall Contemporary


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Cornwall Contemporary
1 Parade Street
Queens Square
TR18 4BU

Telephone: 01736 874749

Opening times:
Monday -  Saturday 10 - 5

Gallery Director:
Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

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