Patrick HERON

Patrick HERON

The son of Tom HERON, who brought his family to West Cornwall in 1925, Patrick was born in Leeds. Heron Sr had come to the South West at the invitation of Alec George WALKER to manage the business of CRYSEDE, the design and silks company based in Newlyn.

Patrick's training in art was at the Slade School in London, where his intelligence and socially-aware attitudes blossomed. He was a Conscientious Objector during WWII, and worked on the land instead.  Later he returned to Cornwall and worked for Bernard LEACH at the Pottery, returning to painting full-time after the war ended.

Patrick purchased and established his permanent home just outside Zennor, Cornwall in 1955.  The dramatically placed Eagle's Nest was the former home of the Andrew-Westlake family and the Arnold-Forster family, both of whom had strong ties to the arts communities in West Cornwall.

In 1978 Heron suggested a novel idea for an exhibition to his neighbour Alethea GARSTIN that a show should be arranged for the works of her father, Norman GARSTIN and her own paintings together. Michael CANNEY was willing to organise this at NAG, and the resulting show was an enormous success, reviewed widely and nationally.  In his capacity as a popular art critic, Heron was known to believe that Alethea's work was 'as good as Vuillard' (p114, Hardie 1995).

Heron's work was not only as a painter and teacher of art, but also as a social and environmental campaigner, and influential art critic, both locally and nationally. His support for the Tate St Ives was influential in its establishment, and a memorial to his life and work takes the form of a wall-sized stain glass window in the vibrant colours of his pallette and to his own design. His bibliography is large, and a record of his writings is kept in WCAA files.

He died on March 20th 1999 in Zennor, and is buried in the Zennor Churchyard.


Painter, teacher, writer

works and access

 Works incl: Summer Painting (1956); Cave (Sept 1956); Abstract 1984 (gouache); November 18 1985 (gouache) illus in golden age catalogue

Access: Tate Gallery St Ives: Stained glass window, in downstairs entrance hall


Long list of international and national shows available (WCAA biographical file)

1956 or 1957 (undated clipping, extr by Hardie 1995) in arts review:  Summer Show, NAG

1985: 'Patrick Heron from Eagles Nest: Paintings and Drawing 1925-1985', NAG Retrospective

1987: `Looking West, Paintings inspired by Cornwall from the 1880s to the Present', NAG and RCA (touring)

1989: 'A Century of Art in Cornwall 1889-1989', CCC centenary, Truro

2011: The Exchange, Penzance 'Print!' Apr-Jul: Contemporary and historic prints/printmakers

2024: Truro School Art Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro (30 Jan-18 May)



NSA (1955 list; no longer a member in 1995)

Penwith Society of Arts

misc further info

Commissioned to make a series of etchings with Hugh STONEMAN for Paragon Press entitled Brushworks


Personal Biography

WCAA Exhibition notes (biographical file)


Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945

Bird (2008) St Ives Artists: Place and Time (photo p12 & illus)

Cross (2002) Catching the Wave, Contemporary Art & Artists in Cornwall pp40-45 (photos & illus); 

P Fuller (1988) in B Ford, ed The Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain, Vol 9, Chp 3: 'The Visual Arts'

Great Atlantic Publications & Clark Art Ltd (2008) the golden age of cornish art

Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery

Hoyle, H (June 2013 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Open Studios Cornwall 2013 - Margaret Deans and Julia Cooper'

Hoyle, H (Oct 2013 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Margaret Mellis and St Ives Modernism'

LeGrice (2008) The First Eleven: St Ives Artists (photo)

RA (1977) British Painting 1952-1977;

Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64: 25 Years of Painting, Sculpture and Pottery (biog notes p125-6 with photo 1960)

Whybrow (2013) St Ives: The Story of Porthmeor Studios;