A re­turn trip to Bo­tal­lack

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Culture -

In his Por­trait of Corn­wall, pub­lished in 1963, Claude Berry writes of “the gaunt ruin of Bo­tal­lack”, deem­ing it as “one of the most spec­tac­u­lar, and for that rea­son per­haps the most pa­thetic of Corn­wall’s ‘knackt bals’.”

Look­ing at its en­gine houses now, the “Crowns”, perched pre­car­i­ously on the cliff edge, and think­ing of the fact that its work­ings ran far out un­der the sea, and of the min­ers who could hear the rum­ble of the sea-driven rocks above them as they worked, it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine that dur­ing some sixty years of its be­ing an ac­tive mine the cop­per and tin they “brought to grass” fetched more than a mil­lion pounds ster­ling.

An area with an at­mos­phere and his­tory of its own, a cou­ple of years af­ter Claude Berry’s com­ments on Bo­tal­lack, and sev­eral years prior to the pub­li­ca­tion of and the even­tual tele­vi­sion treat­ment of nov­el­ist Win­ston Gra­ham’s books on the ad­ven­tures of Ross Poldark, a group of stu­dents, among them Pa­trick Haughton (pic­tured) , from the West of Eng­land Col­lege of Art

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with tu­tors Paul Feiler, Dick Gil­bert and Karl Weschke, were to spend an un­for­get­table week there. They weren’t to know then that some fifty or so years later they would again hit the road from St Ives to St Just, and re­call some of the mo­ments from that week in 1965 – or that their re­turn visit would give rise to the ex­hi­bi­tion, Pa­trick Haughton & Friends: 50 Years On! now be­ing held in the Stu­dio Gallery within the Pen­with Gallery in St Ives.

Orig­i­nally planned as a ret­ro­spec­tive show in cel­e­bra­tion of the artist’s 75th birth­day, while cen­tred around Pa­trick Haughton’s life and work, this “ret­ro­spec­tive with re-con­nec­tions” now em­braces con­tri­bu­tions from some of those who once “howled at the moon with him in Cot Val­ley”. Although, as he says: “Most of the group didn’t fully ap­pre­ci­ate ‘the Cornish thing’ at the time, the visit to Corn­wall did make a strong im­pres­sion on them, but they cer­tainly didn’t an­tic­i­pate com­ing back to Bo­tal­lack 50-plus years on.”

Born in Devon­port, Pa­trick Haughton first set out to be an ar­chi­tect but aban­doned his train­ing in favour of paint brush and study at Ex­eter Col­lege of Art where Clif­ford Fish­wick was then its prin­ci­pal. He later at­tended the West of Eng­land Col­lege of Art in Bris­tol, and sub­se­quently taught for sev­eral years, be­com­ing head of Ken­nall Vale School near Truro in the early 1980s. A po­si­tion he re­lin­quished in 1995, it was then that his ca­reer as a full time pro­fes­sional painter took off.

Since then he has been elected as a full mem­ber of New­lyn So­ci­ety of Artists, an as­so­ci­ate mem­ber of Pen­with So­ci­ety of Arts, spent time as artist in res­i­dence with the As­so­ci­a­tion des Amis de La Grande Vigne, in Di­nan, France, and has ex­hib­ited widely through­out his adopted Corn­wall, and fur­ther afield. From a very early work Natura Morta, made in 1967, and which was sold be­fore the show even opened, to Back to Bo­tal­lack ’65, made ear­lier this year, the works that make up Pa­trick Haughton’s ret­ro­spec­tive are step­ping stones through his dis­tin­guished, full time pro­fes­sional ca­reer. From Just a Me­mory (1995) to an­other made ear­lier this year Men Scryfa

(2018), they high­light the dif­fer­ent stages, the shifts of em­pha­sis that have oc­curred through­out the years, from re­flec­tions on the land­scape to the en­com­pass­ing of con­cerns re­gard­ing the sense of time and space. Then, too, there is the ev­i­dence of those things that have in­flu­enced him along the way, from cu­bism and con­struc­tivism to the mu­sic he plays in his stu­dio.

From Af­ter a Re­fit (1995) and Stand­ing in the Gar­den, Trelis­sick (1997) to A Sin­gle Note, Le­vant (2004) and On the Edge, Aban­doned Mine (2016), this is a ret­ro­spec­tive which pays a well-de­served trib­ute to Pen­ryn-based Pa­trick Haughton, while pre­sent­ing an in­trigu­ing, il­lus­trated and in­for­ma­tive ac­count of his life’s work. It can be seen in Pen­with Gallery, St

Ives, un­til De­cem­ber 8.

Frank Ruhrmund

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