Cornish Chronicles: sculpture gardens

St Ives became a centre for the arts in the 1920s and 30s when influential painters and sculptors moved in. Barbara Hepworth, one of the leading abstract sculptors of the 20th century, had a studio there which, following her death in a fire in 1975, has been preserved as a museum. The garden contains some of her most famous sculptures:

Just outside Penzance is Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, which opened in 2012. If the Hepworth is more sculpture than garden, this is more garden than sculpture, but no less beautiful for that. It also boasts a very fine café (the Lime Tree) and hosts activities and events. We were there at least two hours, and spent most time at James Turrell’s Tewlwolow Kernow (Twilight in Cornwall), a domed chamber from which you can observe the sky.

There was plenty more art to see:

Until the 13th century, this land was owned by the monks of St Michael’s Mount which you can see out in the bay from the top end of the gardens. There’ll be more about that in my next post. And, of course, the sub-tropical plants themselves were lovely:

So, two very different sculpture gardens, but both well worth a visit. And this has been my 200th post on this blog!

Cornish Chronicles: St Ives

St Ives harbour
St Ives harbour

In 2012 and 2013, our autumn holidays were dictated by the touring schedule of Mr Leonard Cohen (Berlin and Dublin respectively). As he had the audacity to miss a year (well, he is 80) we had to make our own arrangements for 2014. We decided to go to Cornwall, the extreme south-west tip of England, which I, to my shame, had never visited, and which John had only visited as a young child. In fact, we spent a whole week exploring the extreme south-west of the extreme south-west, not straying far from the Penwith Peninsula, that crooked finger that juts out from St Ives (where we stayed) to Land’s End.

St Ives has a maze of narrow alleys and lanes, often with peculiar names, tumbling steeply down to its beautiful harbour and three sandy beaches. This does mean that wherever you are staying, there are a lot of hills to climb! Originally a pilchard harbour, these days it is more of an arts centre – although we were disappointed to find that Tate St Ives closed for two weeks for rehanging as soon as we arrived. We did manage to visit its roof-top café for coffee with a view, which compensated a bit. (Barbara Hepworth’s studio was open, but that will feature in a later post.) As you can see from the gallery below, despite being the end of September / beginning of October, the weather was glorious.

Our base in St Ives was The Nook, a comfortable guest-house with friendly staff and good breakfasts. The room was quite small (though with plenty drawer and wardrobe space), but that didn’t matter as we were out and about so much. Cornish Chronicles to be continued soon…..