Bessie BOYNS

Bessie BOYNS

Bessie was the eldest daughter of a large family whose father was the Purser and General Manager of the local tin mine at Boswedden, St Just in Cornwall. Her talents lay in painting the coastal scenes around her, and sculpting in wood and local rock. She was also an accomplished organist. In 1901 she was living with her sister Gertrude at South Huish, Devon.

One of her characteristic paintings, Summer Weather, Sennen Cove (1898) is in the collection at Penlee House.

A correspondent (2013) sent in this useful information:

'I came across a report in the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette (18 Aug 1899) of the annual exhibition of Devon and Cornish Artists at Eland's Art Gallery, High Street Exeter and it referred to Bessie Boyns as the pupil of Henry Edwin TOZER. I also noticed that in Kelly's Directory of Cornwall 1893 the entry for St Just in Penwith lists Bessie Boyns as organist to the Wesleyan Chapel and Henry Edward Tozer as artist at Cape-Cornwall House.'

Editor's note: Fellow participants in the 1899 Exeter exhibition referred to above included Boyns' tutor Henry Edwin Tozer. When Tozer's daughter Marianne married in 1896, Tozer's wife Louisa moved to London with the newly-wed couple. Louisa is described in the 1901 census as a widow, but it seems that she and Henry Edwin had separated in the late 1890s, and that he moved in to live with Bessie Boyns and her sister Gertrude at Galmpton, near Salcombe, Devon. Their last joint exhibition took place at Kingsbridge in 1912 and he died the following year. The two sisters, first Gertrude (1928) and then Bessie (1947) were buried beside him.

A correspondent (2020) has advised us of a Bessie Boyns painting which she found in a second-hand shop in her home town in Australia. The subject of this fine coastal view has been identified as being Cape Cornwall.


Landscape painter of coastal views; sculptor, organist

works and access

Works include: Ebbing Tide and Showery Weather (1891); and Ramillies Cove, Bolt Tail (Devon Coast)



RBA (1)

SS 1891


1891 Census

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p315)

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists

Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership

Wood (1995) Victorian Painters;

The Year's Art 1894