Penlee House Gallery and Museum
Built in 1865 as a gracious Victorian home, Penlee House has been converted to create a first class gallery and museum set within an attractive park. It specialises in showing the area’s unique, rich cultural heritage incorporating the historic collections of Penzance Town Council, Penwith District Council and Newlyn Art Gallery.
A programme of changing exhibitions celebrates the skill and craftsmanship of painting in West Cornwall in the late 19th and early 20th century, usually including the world famous ‘Newlyn School’ and Lamorna Group artists, such as Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes, Walter Langley and Lamorna Birch.
The Art Collection
Penlee House has a permanent collection of paintings which is actively being developed through purchases, gifts, bequests and long-term loans. Some of the best known works include The Rain it Raineth Every Day by Norman Garstin, School is Out by Elizabeth Forbes, Among the Missing by Walter Langley and On Paul Hill by Stanhope Forbes. Please note that although each exhibition includes selected works from our collection, there is no permanent display and the galleries are often closed between exhibitions: please check what is on show before making a special journey.
Founded in 1839, the museum collections cover 6000 years of history in west Cornwall, from Penwith’s awe-inspiring archaeological sites to the area’s more recent social history, plus computer access to photographs of west Cornwall from the 1860s to the 1960s.
The Orangery Café
Our delightful licensed café, with its sun-bathed terrace overlooking the park, offers a range of coffees, afternoon tea with home baked cakes and freshly prepared light lunches, using the best of local produce.
Our well-stocked shop offers a wide range of prints, books, gifts and souvenirs. A mail-order service is available.
The Friends of Penlee House
The Friends, a registered charity, provide voluntary help in the Gallery and raise funds to support our work. Benefits include free admission, shop discount, invitations to previews and a winter lecture programme.
Education and Outreach
Penlee House offers a distinctive learning resource for all ages.
Holiday and family activities
There is a regular programme of free family drop-in craft activities on Saturdays from 2.30 – 3.30pm in the galleries and children’s holiday and half-term workshops, often based on our exhibitions and offering the chance to experience new ideas and to experiment with unfamiliar materials. For details, please ask to be put onto our family workshop mailing list.
Tours and group visits are welcomed: a free introductory talk is provided on request and a full guided tour can usually be arranged for an additional charge, but prior booking is essential for all groups and the maximum group size is 25.
Penlee offers a variety of curriculum-based activities for schools, ranging from object-handling sessions to art and history workshops, plus teachers’ packs providing educational ideas and information relating to key Newlyn School paintings for use in the Gallery and classroom. School visits are free, but must be pre-booked, and teachers are asked to contact us in advance to discuss their specific requirements.
Penlee offers a selection of themed resource boxes for schools and other groups, and our Education and Outreach Officer is able to visit community groups in west Cornwall for talks and object handling sessions: please phone to discuss.
Research and enquiries
If you would like further information about a specific object, artist or painting, or would like to see an item in our reserve collections, please contact us; we also welcome researchers who are willing to share their findings.
Open from 10.00 am all year round, Monday to Saturday, including Bank Holidays (closed Sundays)
Summer, April – October : Gallery closes at 5.00 pm
Winter, November to March: Gallery closes at 4.30 pm
Last admissions 30 minutes before closing.
£3.00 concessions, inc. over 60s
7 Day ‘Art Pass’ including Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the Leach Pottery: £15 adults, £10.00 concessions Penlee House is owned and operated by Penzance Town Council