Artists society formed in 1948 at St Ives. It is part of the history of the development of modern and abstract art within the artists' colony of St Ives. The Penwith Society was formed by abstract artists breaking away from the St Ives Society of Artists, which was too conservative for them. They had already formed the splinter Crypt Group within the St Ives Society, but by 1948 felt the need for complete separation. The founders of the Penwith Society were Barbara HEPWORTH and Ben NICHOLSON together with the rest of the Crypt Group, including Peter LANYON, who played a prominent role. They invited the eminent critic and supporter of modern art, Herbert Read, to be their president.