Born in Wealdstone, Middlesex, he was brought up in Swansea and went to evening classes at Swansea College of Art in 1930. He moved to Barnoon, St Ives to help an aunt renovate a cottage in 1930, and opened a market garden in 1938. At Geevor Mine he also worked as a tin miner between 1942 and 1945, then a fisherman from 1946 to 1948.
His interest in modern art was aroused by meeting Bernard LEACH and Adrian STOKES when they were in the Home Guard during the War. With his brother Endell he organised the first show of modern art in St Ives at the Castle Inn. Initially he tried his hand as a painter of land and seascapes. But, when he became assistant to Barbara HEPWORTH in 1949, he first started to sculpt in wood and eventually turned to bronze, the work for which he became best known. He was assistant to Hepworth from 1949 to 1959. He began to sculpt in bronze in 1959.
Mitchell was a much loved and respected friend to many artists. For a great many years he shared a studio with the painter John WELLS.
Sculpture, painting, drawing, teaching
works and access
Works include: Knill Steeple St Ives from Barnoon; Penbeagle Farm, St Ives and Gypsies Encampment
Access: Arts Council; Tate Gallery, and many public collections
NAG: Many mixed shows from 1956; Major solo 1977
STISA 1948, Autumn Show 1949, Touring Show, Swindon
1977: Newlyn in Pont Aven
1979: Retrospective, Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea
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)
1987: Pallant House, Chichester "Cornwall in the Eighties"
1992: Penwith Galleries, St Ives
1993: Flowers East
Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall: Founder member 1955-1957 Chairman
M Bird (2008) St Ives Artists/Place & Time
Hardie (1995) 100 Years/Diary (photo likeness p190, col portrait by K Symonds)
Tovey Creating a Splash
Tate St Ives 1939-64, Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture & Pottery [photo: 1960]
WCA A files: Pallant House, Exhibitor's list
Whybrow (1986) Forms and Faces: Sculptors in SW Cornwall