Post-war Cornwall saw a remarkable flowering of the arts and literature. Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth spearheaded the modernist movement in Britain, the Leach Pottery attracted worldwide attention and Cornish culture was celebrated in a myriad forms. Writer and editor Denys Val Baker was at the heart of all this activity. His Britain’s Art Colony by the Sea became an iconic record, while the Cornish Review, which he launched in 1949, provided a regular platform for the area’s writers, critics and historians. Some of the period’s finest writing appeared in his pages, although – as some critics pointed out – by no means all the contributors were Cornish-born. This anthology, drawing together articles, poetry and short stories, gives a flavour of those heady years: artist Peter Lanyon writing on ‘The Face of Penwith’, poems by the deaf and blind St Austell poet Jack Clemo, Sven Berlin on his world as a sculptor, Guido Morris expounding the finer points of letterpress printing, and Charles Marriott recalling Cornwall’s early art colonies. Bernard Leach, Charles Causley, the irascible Arthur Caddick, memories of D H Lawrence in Cornwall, W S Graham’s celebrated poem ‘The Voyages of Alfred Wallis’ – all these and much more sparkle in these pages. Not least of historical and cultural interest is Val Baker’s bitter-sweet essay on the two incarnations of the Review: 1949-1952, from which these extracts are taken, and a final flowering from 1966 to 1974. Ultimately, the Review foundered for lack of money and readers; ironically, original copies are now much sought after by collectors.
230 x 153mm
160pp / softback