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Artistic legacies spark memories of gallery supporters' great generosity

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 03, 2013

By FRANK RUHRMUND

  • Seine Fishing and Girl In Blue, both by Henry Rheam, are part of the In Memoriam show

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As its title suggests, the In Memoriam exhibition at Penlee House Gallery in Penzance brings to mind so many people from both the distant and the more recent past.

And it is for this reason that the show is impossible to view without a feeling a certain sadness.

Foremost among them is Dr Eric Richards, who died just a year ago. A family doctor of the old school in West Cornwall for many years, he had two great loves. One was for Newlyn and the other was for Penlee House and no less than 30 of the pictures in this exhibition are from his bequest to the gallery. They include Seine Fishing by Henry Meynell Rheam, Relubbus Bridge by Stanhope Forbes, Newlyn Slip by William Croxford and Keel Alley, Newlyn by John Henry Martin.

This is an evocative, excellent exhibition.

Among the collection is a case containing a Crysede dressing gown, which was given to the gallery in memory of Hazel Burston, the first director of Penlee, who died just a few weeks after the building reopened in 1997.

Then there is a cardigan made by Newlyn-based artist Charles Breaker, which was given to the gallery last year by the family of Gay Sagar, for whom the artist made the garment way back in the 1950s.

Portrait Of Rhoda by Harold Harvey is one of several works associated with the Newlyn painters of a century or more ago. It was a bequest from the sitter, Rhoda Littler, who was the artist's niece and often stayed with him and his wife Gertrude when she was a teenager.

Boat With Sails Dropped by Henry Scott Tuke was presented to the gallery in 2001 by the daughter and grand daughter Royal Naval Commander Ralph Burland Bodilly, who was the son of another painter, Frank Bodilly.

One work with a particularly interesting heritage is Still Life With Flowers by Dorcie Sykes. Presented to the gallery in 2009 in memory of Gladys Parker, it is worth noting that the jug in the painting was also given to the gallery.

An exhibition which fully justifies its declared aim of sparking a "desire to remember and to be remembered", In Memoriam is Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Morrab Road, Penzance, until January 11. Admission is free.

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