John Passmore Edwards


The Newlyn Art Gallery



On the day that Passmore Edwards opened the Redruth Library, in 1895, he was approached by a deputation of artists from the Newlyn Art Colony, including Stanhope Forbes, and asked for assistance to provide an Art Gallery in Newlyn. Married to the daughter of an artist, Passmore Edwards had, the previous year, funded the construction of the South London Art Gallery and after making the usual enquires about the upkeep of such a gallery agreed to the proposal. The site, on the sea front at Tolcarne in Newlyn, was given by Charles D N LeGrice with James Hicks chosen as the architect and Passmore Edwards' schooldays friend John Symonds the builder.

It was through the building of the Gallery that Passmore Edwards, in April 1895, found himself, together with John Symonds, summoned to appear before the West Penwith Magistrates for a breach of the bylaws. Due to a misunderstanding as to the local authority area in which the site fell, had delivered the plans and specification to the Paul Urban Council rather than the Madron Urban District Council. By the time the mistake had been discovered construction of the foundations had been commenced, at that time an offence. Mr J B Cornish appearing for Passmore Edwards reminded the Bench of his client's generosity to others and told them of his regret over this innocent breach of the bylaws. As soon as he had heard of the problem he had discontinued building operations. Mr Cornish hoped that Mr Edwards might reconsider his decision, because it would be very unfortunate if this mistake was to deprive Newlyn of such a building. Despite this set back the building was completed within six months and, on 22 October 1895, the Right Honorable Leonard Courtney, MP opened the Gallery in the presence of Lord and lady St Levan, Mr T B Bolitho, MP, and Stanhope Forbes, ARA, and dedicated the building to John Opie, the Cornish Artist
James Hicks
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© Dean Evans 2004
May 2, 2005
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Passmore Edwards autobiography,,  A few footprints.