Jubilee Procession in a Cornish Village, A.G. Sherwood Hunter (1846-1919)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, June 1897. This painting is a wonderful record of a lantern procession held to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The women and girls in the procession, all dressed in white and carrying Chinese lanterns, are shown snaking their way through the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn. George Sherwood Hunter was born in Aberdeen and visited Newlyn around the turn of the century. He settled there permanently in 1902 where he taught alongside Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes at the Newlyn School of Painting. Like many artists associated with the Newlyn School, Hunter was interested in depicting working people around the ports and villages of Cornwall. The painting underwent considerable conservation and restoration in 2010 which meant that, for the first time in over 100 years, the exquisitely painted faces of those in the procession could be seen in all their subtle glory. The delicate beauty in the children's faces is made more remarkable when one takes into consideration the very limited palette Hunter works with.
© RIC, photographer Mike Searle
Tamsin Blight, the White Witch of Helston, William Jones Chapman (1808-1872)
Oil on canvas, English School, 1856. A portrait of an elderly woman wearing a bonnet and shawl, seated in a chair. Thomasine Blight (1793-1856), known locally as Tammy Blee, was the best remembered of the pellars or witches of West Cornwall. Sometimes known as a cunning-person or conjurer, she was thought to perform only good deeds, notably the removal of curses of black witches and numerous cures. Even when she was on her death bed people were carried in to see her, some on stretchers. It was said that the sick lay beside her 'only to rise up and go down over the stairs perfectly cured'. She was also known as a fortune teller. Tammy's second husband, James Thomas, had similar occult powers and there was considerable rivalry between them. W.J. Chapman was a Cornish portrait painter who was active between 1840-1860. This portrait was painted in the year of Blight's death in 1856.
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