Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance
The artistic heart of West Cornwall's history
Image: Forty Winks
By Fred Hall, 1892

It is necessary to close some of the galleries between exhibitions, so please do check what is open before making a special journey during those times. In 2017, the downstairs exhibition galleries will be closed for re-hang on 5 - 9 June, 11 - 15 September & 27 November - 1 December. Entrance to Penlee is FREE during rehang week.

Not all the paintings are on show at any one time. If there is a particular picture that you would like to see, please let us know in advance of your visit or on the day.

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the current brochure

CLICK HERE for past exhibitions 


A Casket of Pearls: Celebrating 20 Years of Collecting 

4 February - 3 June 2017 

Since undergoing major refurbishment in 1997, Penlee House Gallery & Museum has become one of the leading regional museums. It is internationally renowned for its important collections of 19th and 20th century British art, in particular paintings by artists of the Newlyn School. This exhibition shows how Penlee's marvellous collections have developed over two decades, through fine and decorative art, social history, photography and archaeology. Throughout the Galleries.


Stanhope Forbes: Father of the Newlyn School

10 June - 9 September 2017 

Stanhope Forbes (1857 – 1947) was one of the ‘greats’ of the Newlyn School artists’ colony which flourished from the 1880s onwards. Although by no means the first artist to set up in Newlyn, Forbes’s arrival galvanised the emerging art community and helped to build its national and international reputation. For this reason, he is often dubbed the ‘Father of the Newlyn School’, which reflects both his significance and his popularity.  Born in Dublin, Forbes trained at the Royal Academy Schools in London and finished his studies at Bonnat’s studio in Paris. After arriving in Newlyn in 1884, his national reputation was established a year later with the acceptance of his masterpiece, Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach at the Royal Academy. Comprising a stunning selection of key works from all periods of Forbes’s career, this exhibition celebrates his consummate skill as an artist. Throughout the Galleries.


John Armstrong: Dream & Reality

16 September - 18 November 2017 

This exhibition examines the diverse range of work produced over the lifetime of this intriguing artist. John Armstrong ARA (1893 - 1973) studied briefly at St John’s Wood School of Art but was essentially self-taught. His one-man exhibition in 1928 established him in avant-garde circles, including that of Unit One with Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and others. He later became deeply involved in theatre and film, designing sets for the Royal Ballet and costumes for ten of Alexander Korda’s epic films. Although his paintings show the influence of Surrealism, Armstrong was never a Surrealist; instead he forged a very personal style that confronted conventional ideas and beliefs with a blend of ironic wit and personal symbolism. After the war, he spent a period of time in Lamorna before returning to London and continuing his eclectic style that encompassed still life and classicism alongside larger, more abstract works. Ground floor galleries. A selection of Newlyn School paintings on view upstairs in Gallery 5.