13April 2022

Under an open Sky. Newlyn and Lamorna, Women Artists 1880-1940

Ms. Catherine Wallace

Dame Laura Knight and Dod Procter, are two well -known women artists to feature in the history of Cornish art. But there were many who came before and after them, who have been forgotten often because of their more famous husbands. This talk looks at the many women artists who came to capture Cornwall’s charms.

Ms. Catherine Wallace

Studied fine art at Leeds and Canterbury before completing a master’s degree in art history and museum studies at the University of St Andrews. Having focused her studies on Wyndham Lewis, she researched and curated a major loan exhibition on this important British artist at London’s Imperial War Museum in 1992.

Moving to Cornwall in 1993, she was responsible for managing Falmouth Art Gallery for eight years, curating both contemporary exhibitions including John Trigg: Sculpture, Drawing, painting 1990 - 97, March - April 1997; Kurt Jackson Carnsew: A working granite quarry in Cornwall March- April 1999; Tim Shaw: La Corrida Dreams in Red and other sculptures May - June 1999; Francis Hewlett A Retrospective - Work from 1991 - 2000, September - November - 2000 and historic art exhibitions such as Women Artists in Cornwall 1880-1940 August - September 1996: Lamorna Birch A Retrospective August - September 1997; Before the Mast: H.S.Tuke and Arthur Briscoe July - September 1998.

Catherine was responsible for Falmouth Town Council’s fine art collection of over 300 works and ran a continuous conservation and restoration programme for it with external conservators. Catherine was responsible for displaying the permanent collection on different themes.

Catherine also project managed the redevelopment of Falmouth Art Gallery in 1995/96 using Heritage Lottery, Sport and Arts Foundation and other public funding to renovate the gallery and build a new extension for a lift, new arts store, education room and offices. She co-ordinated the transfer of the fine art paintings collection to Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery where it was displayed and a conservation programme of works on paper from the collection whilst the gallery was closed. She worked with architects Poynton, Bradbury and Wynter and Nicholls builders to see through this capital project.

From 2001, Catherine ran her own arts agency promoting Cornish contemporary art for four years. Catherine was part-time acting Curator of Art for the Royal Cornwall Museum for four months in 2001. She was also part-time Administrator and Development Officer for the Borlase Smart - John Wells Trust overseeing the artists studios owned by the Trust in Newlyn and St. Ives and helped raise funds from the Arts Council Lottery capital fund to renovate them, from July 2002 to December 2004.

Catherine is now a freelance art writer, curator and fundraiser, working with arts charities, commercial and public galleries. She is an authority on the art of Henry Scott Tuke and writes catalogue entries for both Bonhams and Christies auctioneers on his work.