St Ives had some great stuff and the highlights for me were:
i) The Leach Pottery, which housed the original workshops where the father of the British pottery movement, Bernard Leach, produced work and essentially founded a movement linking British arts and crafts to the millennia-old Japanese pottery industry.
ii) The Hepworth Museum and Studio (above), where the Wakefield-born sculptor worked in St Ives, and the attached and quite intimate gardens, which displayed quite a lot of her work.
iii) The beaches, the scenery and the coastal walks. Quite lovely.
iv) The Tate, which was much less impressive than either of its London counterparts but still quite inspiring in a much more small-scale and provincial way.
V) A seal. I saw one of these quite close up swimming among the rocks. It was totally unexpected and really wonderful. This one small but amazing thing was probably my highlight of the entire holiday.
We also ventured into Penzance to visit Penlee House, which is another art gallery with an attached museum and gardens. The exhibition on here featured a painter called Leonard Fuller, who was one of the fathers of the St Ives art community. He was a portrait painter trained at the Royal Academy, who saw action in World War One, then came to St Ives and set up an art school with his wife and a former Army colleague.
Hugely influential in the local area, he then broke away from the more traditional school he set up to form a school more allied with modernisn, which included Barbara Hepworth among its members. Fuller lived into the 1970s and continued to contribute to both schools and was awarded a major award for his contribution to the arts alongside Hepworth.
Penzance itself was a bit grim, although most holiday places probably look a bit shit out of season and in the rain. The exhibition at the Penlee, though, was well worth the visit.