Pearce achieved a great following and success as an artist in spite of being brain damaged by phenylketonuria. His career as an artist was directed and supported through the skillful care and acumen of his mother, Mary PEARCE, also a painter, and a good friend of many artists.

He was born in St Ives, and lived out his life there, painting "all the places in St Ives, the harbour, the church, Market Place" his favoured subjects being seascapes and landscapes, though he also liked flower painting. His intense interest in patterns and designs often found Pearce standing in the Penwith Gallery staring at a blouse or pair of patterned trousers, lost in the world of imprinting those 'pictures' for future use.

His remarkable story is told warmly in several biographical works listed below, beginning with the earliest by Ruth Jones, through to the most recent revision (2008) of Marion Whybrow's Bryan Pearce - A Private View, first published in 1985. His many friends, carers, and admirers who surrounded and supported him in life contributed greatly to the publications about his work.


Painting in oils

works and access

Likenesses of the artist: portrait by Ken SYMONDS (repr in Hardie (1995); by Misome PEILE

Penlee House, Penzance: Penzance Harbour (all round);

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro: A large collection of his work is in the Fine Art Collection of the Museum, 26 oil paintings of which, are illustrated in PCF (2007).



Solo: NAG (1959)

 NAG Art share 1988, A Century of Art in Cornwall 1889-1989; many mixed shows in St Ives and at NAG

1986: RCM & RIC Three Spires Festival Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture and Pottery, Truro (Opening of the RCM or County Art Gallery, by the Royal Institution of Cornwall)

Royal Cornwall Museum 2000-1, Retrospective 2005

Beaux Arts, Bath 2004; Archeus: Retrospective 2005

Penlee House, Penzance 2011: 'Different Ways of Seeing: Pearce, Gillchrest and Yates' 17 Sept-12 Nov

2012: 'Soaring Spirits', Falmouth Art Gallery 23 June - 8 Sept

2019: Belgrave Gallery, St Ives (8-25 Mar)

2024: Truro School Art Collection, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro (30 Jan-18 May)


Penwith Society of Artists 1957ff; NSA 1959-95

NSA 1972-3 list


J Axten with others (2000) Bryan Pearce: the Artist and His Work; (2004) Bryan Pearce & his artist friends

Buckman (2006) Artists in Britain since 1945

Exh Cat: 20 Years of Contemporary Art at Falmouth Art Gallery 1980-2000

Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn/Diary (Col portrait by K Symonds);

Hoyle, H (Jan 2013 Women Artists in Cornwall Barbara Tribe - A Sculptor's Life

Jones, Ruth (1976) The Path of the Son

Lemon Street Gallery, Truro (2007) Bryan Pearce: Last Paintings and Other Works

McLeod, Alister J (1973) Newlyn Society of Artists 1895-1973 (NAG 12 page brochure)

Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership (illus)

RCM (2008) The Bryan Pearce Bequest

C J Stevens (2004) The Miracle of Bryan Pearce

Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64: 25 Years of Painting, Sculpture & Pottery (biog notes p138 with photo 1974); (2007) St Ives All Round: The Paintings of Bryan Pearce;

Whybrow (1985 First, 2008 Revised 2nd) Bryan Pearce, A Private View;  (1994) Studio Artists in their Workplace St Ives (artist's statement and photo); (1999) The Innocent Eye: Primitive & Naive Painters in Cornwall

Whybrow (2013) St Ives: The Story of Porthmeor Studios;