Peter Blagg: A Critical Appreciation: by the late Michael Canney, Director of Lionel Lea Townley BIRCH, Penzance, Cornwall
'As a native of Camborne-Redruth, I know that visually these towns are far from inspiring. Mining has shaped both of them, together with the surrounding countryside, so that finding an artist at work here is something of a surprise. However, Peter LANYON drew and painted around Dolcoath Mine at the Western foot of Carn Brea. The multi-talented Lionel Lea Townley BIRCH produced many of his early works here, under the encouragement of Arthur HAMBLY, influential head of the Redruth School of Art.
Thirty-three years ago, Peter Blagg too captured much of the character of the area in a series of evocative paintings and drawings, but he unaccountably seems to have been overlooked by critics and historians of art in Cornwall. A typical title of one of Blagg`s drawings, `Redruth: View Towards Carn Brea`not only gives the flavour of his work at the time, but also indicates that countryside and seascape are knocking at the suburban door here, so that these works are townscapes and landscapes combined, Blagg`s subject matter is
found in the heartless granite terraces of Redruth, the surrounding fields and mine dumps, in mine engine houses, furzey hedgegrows with brass bedsteads in lieu of farm gates. It takes an exceptional artist to find inspiration here: to rise above the
overwhelming melancholy of industry dead and gone – of subsistence farming, but Blagg does allow himself the luxury of painting the neighbouring sea-coast, indulging in positively `Lanyonesque` gestural works with their freely brushed imagery. These are unique.
In 1963 or thereabouts, I arranged an exhibition of Blagg`s work in the lower gallery at Newlyn, where, I recall, it looked well. It was impossible at time to discern what he might do in the future or where his talent might take him? Over thirty years on, I now look forward to seeing the answer.'
Michael Canney ( Curator; Newlyn Art Gallery/Broadcaster B.B.C. Bristol) September 1996
Peter Blagg exhibited at the Newlyn Art Gallery in 1963.
works and access
misc further info
Correspondence (Hayle Gallery) 2013