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


This website includes a database of most of the pictures and artefacts in our collections.

Penlee House Gallery & Museum Collections

This website includes a database of most of the pictures and artefacts in our collections.

Fine Art

Penlee House has a permanent collection of paintings. Some of the best-known artists are featured individually (please go to the Newlyn School page), while these and other artists' works are available to view through the Fine Art catalogue. Although each exhibition includes selected works, please note that there is no permanent display: check what is on show before making a special journey. Prints of some images are available for sale from Bridgeman Art On Demand, and a selection of the most popular are available for mail order from our shop.


The museum has a collection of many thousands of photographs of the area from as early as 1870 up to the present day, which includes work by photographers such as Frith and Valentine, Gibson and Preston. There are also a number of albums held within the collections, including volumes of images of the Newlyn School artists and personal albums originally owned by the Branwell family of Penlee House.

More information on local photographers

Information on early photographic processes

Social History and Decorative Arts

The collection focuses on the fascinating social history of the far west of Cornwall, including industries such as fishing, farming, mining and tourism. A high proportion of the items are on display in the Social History gallery, but if you wish to see a specific artefact, please contact The Social History collections also encompass the area's unique decorative arts industries, including Crysede textiles, studio pottery and Arts and Crafts Copperwork.


The Archaeology Gallery includes a representative selection of items from local archaeological sites covering each of the main periods. In addition to Penlee House's own collection, it includes the golden 'Penwith Lunula' on loan from the British Museum, London. For more information, please click here to download a PDF.

Natural History

The Natural History collections date back to Penlee House's origins as the museum for Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society, who collected examples of both local and exotic flora and fauna. Although much of the collection is rarely on display, we are grateful to naturalist Paul Semmens for photographing and classifying the items we hold, all of which are available to search here.