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The Shining Sands:

Artists in Newlyn and St Ives 1880–1930

By Tom Cross

The Shining Sands

The Shining Sands:

Artists in Newlyn and St Ives 1880–1930

By Tom Cross

The remarkable story of the colony of artists whose bold, vibrant style was inspired by the landscape and people of West Cornwall.

Trade Information: LGEN
Available as: Paperback (eBook editions not available)

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Print Paperback

ISBN: 9780718894511

Specifications: 229x247mm (9x9.72in), 232pp

Illustrations: b&w and colour

Published: January 2017


This is the remarkable story of the colony of artists who were inspired by the people, landscape and light of West Cornwall. Now internationally celebrated, they are forever to be associated with the small fishing ports of Newlyn and St Ives. Arriving from the artists' colonies of France, the Barbizon and Pont-Aven, and the painting schools of London and Paris, they set up their studios in the cottages and net lofts overlooking the sea. Here they painted; their subjects centred on the working life and conditions of the people they lived amongst, and the stark beauty of the rugged Cornish landscape. Challenging the accepted styles of the Victorian masters, their bold work, full of light and colour, often drew upon the working life of the fishermen and their families, recording the tragedies and simple pleasures of their lives.

In The Shining Sands, Tom Cross records the life and work of these artists, from the earliest arrivals in the 1870s through to the decade preceding the Second World War. In this period the artists' colony grew into one of the most significant art movements of recent times, the influences of which directly inspired the post-war 'modern' movements, and which reverberate even today.

The Shining Sands includes almost 100 colour pictures, and 200 images in all, produced by such artists as Walter Langley, Frank Bramley, Stanhope Forbes, Norman Garstin, Elizabeth Forbes, Lamorna Birch, Laura Knight, Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood. The author describes the events and circumstances behind the making of many of the paintings, adding a further dimension to our appreciation of these fine works.


1. The Pursuit of Realism
2. Artists From the Midlands
3. 'A Breath of Fresh Air'
4. Friends From the Slade
5. An International Community
6. The Royal Academy and the New English Art Club
7. Changes in Newlyn
8. A Romantic Vision
9. The Lamorna Valley
10. Modernism
11. A Holiday Paradise
12. A Meeting in St Ives


Tom Cross (1931–2009) was an artist, lecturer and author who made his mark upon the world of art in Cornwall, both with his own work and as Principal of Falmouth School of Art. Along with The Shining Sands, his major works Painting the Warmth of the Sun (1984) and Catching the Wave (2002) are standard works on the history of the Newlyn and St Ives Schools and of contemporary artists working in Cornwall today.

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