The community had always supplemented its income with crafts connected with seafaring, but the influence of several artists together with the financial support of T B Bolitho, the Liberal MP, led to the establishment of organised craft tuition in the village, and in time, a self supporting repoussé metalwork industry. Much of the influence for this came from the Arts and Crafts Movement that was concerned with the notion of 'the dignity of manual work' and the promotion and preservation of craftsmanship in the face of the increasing industrialisation in the late 19th century. John Drew MacKENZIE arrived in 1888 as a painter and illustrator and in 1890 founded the Newlyn Industrial Class, instructing local people first in fretwork, then in metalwork; enamelling and embroidery. Classes were run within the same complex of courtyard workshops by the painter Reginald Thomas DICK and his wife Ellen S DICK. Other artists involved in the project were Thomas Cooper GOTCH and Percy Robert CRAFT.The Industrial Class was enriched by the contribution of John PEARSON who came in 1892 from the School and Guild of Handicraft (formed 1888, by C R Ashbee) in London’s East End. However, it was MacKenzie who was largely responsible for what was to become known as Newlyn Copper. It could be said that the golden era of production lasted until WW1, during which time there was a considerable output of excellent repoussé metalwork from the class. Perhaps the most notable examples are the four large copper plaques (See O’Donnell), earth, air, fire and water, that decorate the facade of the Newlyn Art Gallery. These were designed by J D Mackenzie and T C Gotch, and worked under Pearson’s supervision by Philip HODDER, considered to be Mackenzie's right hand man. In 1899 their work was exhibited in the Albert Hall by the Home Arts and Industries Association. The Newlyn Art Metal Industries exhibited in December 1924 in the first show to include crafts at the Newlyn Art Gallery and continued to show at subsequent craft exhibitions.
Hardie, 100 Years in Newlyn
Cornish Telegraph, 25th March 1909
The Cornishman, 8th December 1926
NAG Exhibition Programme of Pictures & Crafts, July-September 1928
Berriman pp 11-27 (ills); Branfield, John (2003) Ella and Charles Naper, Art and Life at Lamorna; Laity, John Curnow Newlyn Copper; Garstin, Norman (1896) ‘Newlyn Industrial Class’ Studio pp 43-5; Holmes, J (1993) An Artistic Tradition (ills); Myers, L (1980) ‘Copper from Cornwall’ Art & Antiques Weekly Aug issue (ills); O’Donnell, S (1995) ‘The Four Copper Plaques’ in Hardie, 100 Years (ills); Penlee House Artists Gallery On-line (Newlyn Industrial Class); www.penleehouse.org.uk/art-history.