Picturesque portrait of Penzance preserved with permanent place at Penlee House Gallery

By Culture24 Staff | 27 August 2010
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An image of an oil painting of a river by a town

A “quintessentially Cornish” seaside painting made by the “father” of the county’s late 19th century Newlyn School of artists has been saved at Penlee House Gallery and Museum after a three-month public campaign raised more than £130,000 to buy it.

Stanhope Forbes’ Inner Harbour – Abbey Slip, showing a view of picturesque Penzance in 1921, has been bought with grants of £80,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, £40,000 from the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund and £10,000 from the Friends of the Museum.

“We have been overwhelmed by the strength of public feeling towards keeping this well loved painting at Penlee House,” admitted Director Alison Bevan, who said organisers were “absolutely delighted” at the deal.

“The painting has been on display while the campaign has been running and will now remain on our walls for the foreseeable future.”

Together with his wife, Elizabeth, Forbes established the local School of Painting, which played a key role in establishing Cornwall as a stronghold of British art during the 20th century.

The plein-air painting is a fine example of his passion for nature, exquisitely capturing the reflection of light on water in a work first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1922.

Carole Souter, the Chief Executive of the NHMF, said the purchase was “great news”.

“For 30 years the National Heritage Memorial Fund has been saving the nation’s most important treasures,” she added.

“Now this piece of quintessentially Cornish heritage will join an outstanding collection.”

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