The only daughter of the artist Norman GARSTIN and Louisa Jones Garstin (known as 'Dochie'), Alethea was born in Penzance and the only one of the three siblings to become a visual artist (the others were writers like their father). Both Alethea and her brothers Crosbie and Denis, however, are listed by Iris Green in her study of the pupils of the FORBES SCHOOL, though no dates are listed.
Alethea had her first painting accepted by RA in 1912, and she exhibited regularly thereafter. She painted en plein air, subjects taken mainly from her many travels, as well as Cornish village life. She travelled extensively to destinations including Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy, Morocco, Kenya and Australia. She was a friend to many artists and was well-loved by all, accompanying Dod PROCTER on some painting holidays, but finding the experience quite exhausting and sometimes embarrassing due to Dod's drinking habits.
In 1960 she moved to Zennor where she spent the rest of her life, and died shortly before a major exhibition of her and her father's work opened in St Ives in 1978. The general impression is that her work has so far been neglected and that critical acclaim is overdue. Her portrait of Norman GARSTIN is located at Plymouth City Museum. This was illustrated in the Falmouth Art Gallery catalogue for the Women Artists in Cornwall exhibition in 1996, along with seven other oils by the artist.
Painter of landscapes, figures and portraits
works and access
Likenesses of the Artist: Photographs and pictures held at WCAA
Works include: Caribean Street Street Scene; Little Farm Place; Molly by Gaslight; The Artists' Cricket Match; A French Track; Portrait of Norman GARSTIN; Portrait of Mrs N Garstin (1928); Mrs Edwin Lascelles; Dod Procter at her Easel (c1937); Bandstand Morrab Gardens (c1930); Tremedda; Waiting Their Turn; Seafront - Penzance; The White Porch (1920); A Riverside Fair and A Stream (1921); On the banks of the Orwell (1921); Portraits of Mother and Father (1926); Commandeering Horses for the War, Brittany (1914)
Access to works: Bristol Art Gallery; Penwith Galleries; Plymouth City Museum; RWA; Trehayes Collection (Cornwall); Government Art Collection; National Trust; Penlee House
Archival Deposits: Taped conversation with the artist by Reg WATKISS held at Penlee House
NAG from 1921;
STISA from 1928
Penwith Society Two Impressionists - Father and Daughter 1978
Painting in Newlyn 1900-1930 1985;
RWE Artists from Cornwall Exh, Bristol
Falmouth Art Gallery Women Artists (Group) 1996;
Penlee House, Penzance Women Artists in Cornwall 2002
Penlee House, 'The Talented Garstins' Apr-Jun 2011
Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall
Cornishman (7 Jul & 8 Dec 1926);
Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945;
Cross (1994) Shining Sands;
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery p79 in Forbes School list;
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall
Hoyle, H (Sept 2010 Women Artists in Cornwall www.cornishmuse.blogspot.com) 'An Historical Perspective'
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists;
Pryke (2005) Norman Garstin: Irishman and Newlyn artist;
Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64, Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture and Pottery
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash
Wallace et al (1996) Women Artists in Cornwall 1880-1940;
Hale (1999) Norman & Alethea Garstin;
Exhibition catalogue (1978) Two Impressionists - Father and Daughter
Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership;
RWE (1992) Artists from Cornwall, 'Artist Profiles: Historical', pp 33-7