Title: St Ives The Art and the Artists.
Author: Chris Stephens.
Chris Stephens is director of The Holburne Museum, in Bath. He was a curator for Modern British Art, Tate Britain from 2001 until 2017. He has also authored and edited several other books such as “David Hockney” (2017), “Barbara Hepworth; Sculpture for a Modern World” (2015), “Terry Frost (2015) and “Modern Art and St Ives” (2014).
This book covers the history of St Ives, the artists connected to it, and their impact on it’s success/ history, and the town of St Ives and why it’s such an alluring place. The author talks about the social impact of St Ives and how the war impacted both the gallery and the artist’s work. This nook also describes the narrative and subject of St Ives well, too, which is key for an art history book, in my opinion. There are images shown, referenced in the text, that helped me as the reader to better visualise what the author was referencing to and also visually engage myself to the material as well as to the text. The styles of writing is very down to earth and honest but still professionally written. The introduction really drew me into the book, and made me want to read more, unlike many other books that don’t grip me in the same way. The author used both personal and statistical research, in other words, he included his own friends and family’s connections to St Ives, as well as factual and historical data. There is an equal balance of artists and their work, and the general gallery history mentioned. This kept me engaged as a reader because I found it easier to understand what the author was referring to when I could visualise the artist’s work by either looking them up or seeing an image of their work in the book. In this book, the author mentions heavily the location of St Ives and what it’s impact was on the attraction of artists and viewers was, which as mentioned in the book, is a key topic for all writers/ researchers of the St Ives, as it had “a magnetic force” about it. Most, if not all, of the relevant artists are spoken about when the author covers each decade of the gallery’s history, and he also mentions the other books he used as research for this book.