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

Penzance, 1830

Oil on canvas

Richard Thomas Pentreath

1806 - 1869

Richard Pentreath was one of the most accomplished artists of his generation and his works give an invaluable insight into the west Cornwall's places and people before the Newlyn School painters were even born.



Richard Thomas Pentreath - 1806 - 1869

On 1 August 1806, one Julia Pentreath of Mousehole (wife of the schoolmaster and Parish Clerk, Richard Pentreath) gave birth to a son who became one of the most accomplished artists of his generation: Richard Thomas Pentreath.

Pentreath is best known for his lithographic prints, which were published from 1829, and his pictures were produced as prints throughout his career. He was a master of a wide range of media, however, including oils, watercolours and pastels, and he was greatly acclaimed for both portrait and landscape paintings.

His began his artistic career as a sign writer, but he began painting portraits, quickly becoming recognised for producing good likenesses. After painting two decorative panels at Trelowarren House, he was employed by Sir R. R. Vyvyan to travel with him to the Continent to record the places they visited.

In 1844, Pentreath had his first work accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy and in subsequent years he exhibited eighteen further works at the Academy. He died on 17 January 1869, aged 62, but his reputation and influence extended for several decades.