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Historic art studio in Cornwall to get a £400,000 makeover

The Grade II listed cottage and art studio in Newlyn is to be restored, thanks to a lottery grant. Credit: ITV West Country
This is what Anchor Studio originally looked like. Credit: Archive

A crumbling art studio in Newlyn, which was the centre of a major artistic movement, is to be restored thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Anchor Studio was built in 1888 and was the home of Stanhope Forbes, regarded as the founding father of the internationally-renowned Newlyn School of Artists.

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The Grade II listed building is in a fragile state and is on Historic England's At Risk Register. Now, following a £320,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, it's going to be restored.

It's going to be a lot of work but the main thing is, the main structure's still there. It's damp, it's decaying, it's a little bit rickety but with a bit of love and a bit of care to it this can be restored and made to do exactly what it was Stanhope Forbes designed it for and that was for artists to come to paint and draw and to enjoy.

– Barry West, Researcher, Cornish History
Inside Anchor Studio - once the work is finished there will be even more windows to take advantage of the famous Cornish light. Credit: ITV West Country

Artists flocked to Anchor Studio from the late 1800s to 1940 to take advantage of its views. The Newlyn School celebrated ordinary Cornish life and the studio was at the heart of the fishing village. It was also cheaper to hire life models there.

The restorers will bring back a lot of the original glazing, which celebrated Cornwall's natural light, so prized among painters.

All the artists came because of the view of the bay and they would have painted the boats. They'd have the light coming in. It's absolutely fantastic for light in this area and that's why half of the studio was covered in glass.

– Barry West

The restoration project will actually cost more than £400,000 with the rest of the funding coming from a variety of sources including Arts Council England, Cornwall Council and Historic England.

Work is due to start in 2020.

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