Owner Louise Winterton offers an insight into this welcoming space in one of Cornwall’s prettiest harbour villages
Tell us about this beautiful building
The building dates back to 1840 and was built as the accounts house for the very first harbourmaster in Porthleven: William Edgcumbe Cudlipp, whose initials you can see above the door. The gallery was established 30 years ago and we’re the third set of owners, having been at the helm almost 10 years.
Tell us why you do what you do
I run the gallery with my husband, John. I’ve been lucky enough to have a varied career, from a degree in Modern Languages to teaching, then taking over the gallery. I grew up in Porthleven – my family goes back at least five generations here, and my great-grandmother lived in the house next door to the gallery. I can think of no better place to live and work – Porthleven is an extraordinary community and we both feel hugely privileged to be running a business here.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’ve always been passionate about art; Cornwall is full to the brim with it, after all. I enjoy the challenge of running a busy, successful business and I love meeting such a diverse range of customers. I do my best to remember names and faces – although as we are dog-friendly, it’s often the dogs I remember best! Ultimately, I like to think the gallery is a welcoming space. We’re not the largest gallery, by any means, but we’re extremely proud of the stable of artists we work with and the diverse collection of their work that we show.
What goes into running the gallery?
We’re a small team and have become adept at wearing lots of different hats: from curating the space, keeping in touch with our followers via social media, managing the website and online orders – and that’s all before we open the doors to welcome our lovely customers! John runs the picture framing side of the business and is kept busy with orders from artists and private clients. His order board is continuously full with returning customers who appreciate his attention to detail. Alongside John and myself, you will also meet Julia and Debbie, who are both lovely and creative in equal measure and complete our team.
What and who will we find when we visit?
Our location dictates that seascapes work very well, but we also like to show a variety of still life work and landscapes too. Our painters work mostly in oil and acrylics, and styles range from traditional to contemporary. They include Amanda Hoskin, Ben Taffinder, Andrews Barrowman and Jago, David Gray, Gary Long, Heather Howe, Phil Ward, Rebecca and Simon Jewell and Steve Sherris from Scilly. Most come from all over Cornwall, but we do also have David Beatson and Martin John Fowler, who come from Yorkshire but visit and paint Cornwall regularly.
And besides paintings?
There’s lovely ceramic work from Penn Boylan and Jake Boex, studio-mates Hugh West and Karen Carlyon, raku by Catherine Lucktaylor and Demelza Whitley. Jake’s father, Peter, shows his sculptures alongside copper work by Paul Hoskin and hand-built wild birds by Robin Fox. We also stock a range of jewellery by Rock & Silver, Jen Williams, Steph Lawry and Claire Allain, as well as beautiful hand-painted silk scarves by Sharon Verry. We’re proud to be a member of the Own Art scheme, which offers an interest-free method of spreading the cost of buying original artwork.
Does Porthleven have a strong art community?
Absolutely! There has always been a wealth of creativity in Porthleven and the surrounding area. It might not be as famous as St Ives or Newlyn, but it quietly goes its own way. It has become better known over the past decade, but remains peaceful and tucked away, which is what many people like about it. These days, Porthleven is definitely on the map as a destination that offers a wealth of high-quality restaurants and independent shops, and we love being a part of that.
What’s coming up?
We have regular featured artists: Roger Curtis until August 8; Andrew Jago from August 20 to 29; Rebecca Jewell from September 10 to 19, then her husband Simon from October 1 to 10; and Andrew Barrowman from October 22 to 31. Also, look out for the 10-day Porthleven Art Festival from September 24 to October 2 – find out more at www.porthlevenarts.com