Framed original oil painting of a Cornish churchyard. Signed in the lower left corner by the artist, Joan Gillchrest.
Joan Gillchrest was born in Westminster in 1918 and died in 2008, at the age of 89. Gillchrest was a naive painter whose work captured the hardships, and the humour, of Cornish life.
Today Joan’s work sits alongside other great artists of the St Ives School from the 1960s.
In 1966, she became absorbed in the lives of the fishermen. She shared their anguish as their great Cornish industry declined. But alongside the hardship, was also happiness and humour and she captured all of it in her work – together with an affectionate eye for detail. Her style had developed alongside her contentment and, encouraged by Newlyn Orion gallery director John Hawkes, she began exhibiting.
Her first solo show (1969) was at the Plymouth art gallery and for the next 20 years she exhibited in most of the Cornish galleries. She had solo shows at the Orion, and in Penzance, and at the New Craftsman, St Ives, and at London’s Design Centre.
She was the great-granddaughter of the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, and Cornish architecture, churches, chapels and cottages featured prominently in her work. “Buildings,” she said, “are in my blood.”
In 1934 she went to Paris to learn the language and develop her art appreciation. She met Gwen John, and studied in various studios, often posing as a model.
Joan then supported herself working for fashion houses as a model. And she also began to paint again.
In 1958 Joan moved to Mousehole, a village and fishing port in Cornwall.
Joan was a very private person. She could never quite understand the tremendous following which had built up for her painting. The greatest influences on her work were Christopher Wood and Alfred Wallis.
One of Joan’s legacies to Mousehole are the village Christmas lights. Joan had put up the first string outside her house in 1963. Now, every year, the village and its harbour are illuminated and the event draws huge crowds.
If you are interested in this painting or other artwork from Joan Gillchrest, please contact us.
+44 (0)1244 342 520 / 07785 580786