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

The Fairy Story

Oil on canvas, presented in memory of Peggy Levy

Garnet Ruskin Wolseley

1884 - 1967

Wolseley was a close friend of Laura Knight, and her influence on his work is very clear. Although his time in Cornwall was relatively short, he produced a number of major works, including 'The Fairy Story' (Penlee House).



Garnet Ruskin Wolseley - 1884 - 1967

Related to Field-Marshall Lord Wolseley and, on his mother’s side, to John Ruskin, Garnet Wolseley trained at Bushy School of Painting and then at the Slade, where he won a scholarship.

In 1908, aged 24, Wolseley moved to Newlyn and soon formed a close friendship with Laura and Harold Knight.  He was a popular figure in the later Newlyn colony and Laura Knight describes him taking part in wild but sparse attire at one of Phyllis Gotch’s extravagant parties.  The influence of Laura Knight is evident in much of Wolseley’s early work and perhaps sparked the blossoming of his career at this time. 

He worked from Sandy-Cove Studio, Newlyn, often painting in the Lamorna Valley nearby, until 1913.  During this time, he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the New English Art Club and the Walker Art Gallery.  He also served on the main committee of the Newlyn Society of Artists and the hanging committee of Newlyn Art Gallery from 1911 to 1913.

From 1914 to 1918, Wolseley served in the Navy, and painted watercolours of ships and aeroplanes. After the War he became a fashionable portrait painter in Chelsea.  He was made a member of the Royal West of England Academy in 1925 and continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy and NEAC.