The art critic, curator and writer David Lewis first came to Cornwall in 1947, when Dolf RIESER in a London pub gave him the keys to his cottage at Bosporthennis, near Gurnard's Head, Zennor, and told him that he could stay there for the winter.

In his 'St Ives, A personal memoir, 1947-55' within the Tate's excellent book on St Ives 1939-64, Lewis then tells the story of the modernist movement and its progress through the town - and thence to the world - driven by his first friends, John Clayworth Spencer WELLS and George Peter LANYON, and the circle of artists that they introduced to him. He became 'legit' initially - though he had arrived knowing no-one - because his father, Arthur Neville LEWIS, had studied with Stanhope FORBES before WWI and before emigrating to South Africa.

Later he became the husband of Wilhelmina BARNS-GRAHAM. This essay is a must for the understanding of St Ives in the twenty-five year period it covers. Tom CROSS, in his Introduction to Catching the Wave (p6), quotes the following from this essay:

'Looking back, none of us were aware that these years were historic or unique. None of us realised that on this small Land's End peninsula called Penwith, jutting out into the Atlantic, with its ever-changing moods of earth and sea and sky, an evolution in the modern movement of art was taking place, the importance of which is only beginning to be realised forty years on.'


Writer, critic, curator


Tate Gallery, London St Ives 1939-64 Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture and Pottery 13 February -14 April 1985


Bird (2008) St Ives Artists: Place & Time;

Buckman (2006) Dictionary of British Artists

Cross (2002) Catching the Wave, Contemporary Art & Artists in Cornwall

Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64 Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture and Pottery (Exhibition catalogue)