Born in Reigate, Surrey, his father was an ironmonger of St Ives origin. Ninnes studied at West of England College of Art, Bristol, then at the Slade under Tonks and Steer. He married Edyth Mary Day in 1930 and settled in St Ives. Tovey gives him the compliment of being 'an extremely important figure in STISA, serving on the committee from 1932-63, and within that as Vice President and Chairman from 1949-54. He was also President of STIAC in 1936, and in 1953 was founder of the St Ives Society for the Advancement of Music and Arts.
A distinctive artist admired for his "modern" touch in 1930s and 1940s, his work is sadly neglected now. Initially he worked from Dolphin Studio and made a strong impression on Borlase SMART in 1932. In 1938 he left St Ives and gave an address in Dublin for exhibition purposes. The following year he listed Guildford, Surrey as his base, but then returned to St Ives in 1940, living in the Ayr district.
By 1962, he had shown over 135 works in exhibitions of STISA and RBA but had ceased exhibiting by 1963 due to ill health. Altogether he tackled a wide range of subjects-landscapes, marine paintings, town and harbour scenes, interiors, figure paintings, still life, producing bold and distinctive work in all.
works and access
Works include: The Café Born, Palma de Mallorca (1934) - Hereford City Museum (repr Tovey 2003); At the Sign of the Sloop; A Cornish Hamlet - Nancledra - Guildhall, St Ives; The Boatbuilder's Shop, St Ives - Leamington Spa Art Gallery; Nancledra (St Ives TC); St Michael's Mount from Madron; Lelant Estuary
Access: Hereford; Stoke on Trent; Leamington Spa; St Ives Town Council
RA; RBA (36); ROI (22)
Downings Bookshop, St Ives 1949 Solo show
STISA 1951, won the only prize for painting
STISA: 1932-63; RBA: 1933; ROI: 1934; STIAC: 1936
St Ives Society for Advancement of Music and Arts: 1953 founder
misc further info
Barnes Thomas (2008) Auction catalogue, Penzance: Lelant Estuary; (col pl) & St Michael's Mount
Buckman (2006) Artists/Britain since 1945
Hardie (2009) Artists/Newlyn & West Cornwall 1880-1940 p338 (bibl)
Johnson & Greutzner
Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Tovey (2000) GF Bradshaw & STISA, Appendix 3: Principal Members of STISA (1927-1960); (2003) Creating a Splash
Tate, St Ives 1939-64, Twenty Five Years of Painting