Henry Malcolm GEOFFROI

1825—1917

Born in Boulogne, France, Geoffroi moved to London at the age of fifteen and studied art at South Kensington School of Art. In Kelly's Directory for 1856 he was one of five 'artists' listed for the whole of the County of Cornwall, and described himself as a Professor of Drawing and Painting.

He was first Master of the Penzance School of Art, founded in September of 1853 and started initially in rooms above the Princes Street Hall. By the end of 1853, the popular classes had moved to Regent House at Voundevour Lane, Penzance. In Views and Likenesses (1988), about the work of photographers in Cornwall and Scilly in the years 1839-1870, Charles Thomas suggests that Geoffroi, even if not a photographer himself (possibly an early amateur), was open to displaying 'a fine collection of photographs' amongst the pupils' display for their annual show in 1854.

In 1866 he lived in Voundeveor Lane next to the School, and served additionally as master of Truro School of Art, visiting weekly. To this dual post, he also held the post of Visiting Art Master at Truro School. With great efforts from his wife Elizabeth ('Lazzie') and their children, money was raised by subscriptions locally and abroad to construct new purpose-built premises at the top of Morrab Road, which opened in March 1881. This was one of the venues used by Newlyn artists to exhibit work prior to the construction of the Passmore Edwards Gallery (Newlyn Art Gallery, opened in 1895), and was part-time employment for many years for stalwarts of the art circles of the area.

He was the father of Harry Malcolm GEOFFROI.