Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance
The artistic heart of West Cornwall's history

The Rain it Raineth Every Day, 1889

Oil on canvas. Gift of the artist.

Norman Garstin

1847 - 1926

The Irish artist Norman Garstin painted what has become one of Penlee House's best-loved works, 'The Rain it Raineth Every Day'. A leading figure of the Newlyn School, he was as famous for his work as an art critic and teacher as he was as a painter.

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Biography

Norman Garstin - 1847 - 1926

Garstin was born in Ireland and was brought up by his grandparents. He first set out to be an engineer, then an architect, and then sought his fortune prospecting for diamonds in South Africa in the company of Cecil Rhodes.

On return to Ireland, he decided on a career as an artist. Although he started by painting in his spare time, by the late 1870s through the early 1880s he was studying in both Paris and Antwerp.

He arrived in Newlyn in 1886, moving to Penzance in 1889 where he finally settled, living at Wellington Terrace. To supplement the sparse income from picture sales, he taught painting, his most notable students being Harold Harvey and his own daughter, Alethea Garstin, who became a notable painter in her own right.

His most famous work is ‘The Rain it Raineth Every Day’, 1889, showing Penzance promenade on a rainy day. The composition of this painting demonstrates Garstin’s admiration for Japanese art, which was influencing so many artists at this time, including Whistler, whose work Garstin also admired. The title is taken from Shakespeare, where it is found both in ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘King Lear’.

N.B. Penlee House currently has three further Norman Garstin works on long-term loan from Tate: for details please see www.tate.org.uk

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