Open 16 March - 8 June
Monday to Saturday (closed Sundays)
10.30 am - 4.30 pm
(last admission 4.00pm)
Admission £4.50 adults,
under 18s FREE
ADMISSION FREE ON SATURDAYS
From Easter Saturday
to 30 September:
10.00am - 5.00pm
(last admission 4.30pm)
WINNER Cornwall Tourism Awards GOLD
South West Tourism Excellence Awards GOLD
Penlee House is delighted to announce the generous gift to our collections of three paintings by Penzance's most famous son, Sir Humphry Davy (1778 – 1829).
Best known for his invention of the miners' safety lamp, Davy was a true polymath, being a poet and - as these paintings show - an accomplished watercolourist, as well as a brilliant scientist and inventor.
Born in a house on Penzance's main shopping street, Market Jew Street (now, perhaps appropriately, the site of the Oxygen Gym), Humphry was the son of Robert Davy, a London-trained carpenter and farmer, and Grace a shopkeeper’s daughter. Orphaned at the age of eight or nine, Grace and her two sisters were brought up by Dr John Tonkin, an apothecary, who lived in a Tudor house where the Market Hall now stands.
As befits such an important local figure, Penlee House has a museum display dedicated to the great man, which celebrates the Penzance of his time, giving a flavour of the times Davy was born into, from the penal system to leisure pastimes. One of the paintings is now on show in this display and the others will be shown on a rotational basis (due to the delicate nature of historic watercolours, it is not possible to show all three at all times), or can be viewed by appointment.
The paintings all date from around 1796, when Davy is recorded as having been given painting materials. One (as shown above) depicts 'Part of Mount’s Bay', while the other two depict Loch Lomond. All three have been donated by the great, great grandson of Dr Clement Carlyon, a great friend of Davy’s from his school days.