Penwith Gallery: Photographic Exhibition

27 Aug 2022 to 8 Jan 2023
© Cornel Lucas Collection. All rights reserved
© Cornel Lucas Collection. All rights reserved
© Cornel Lucas Collection. All rights reserved
© Cornel Lucas Collection. All rights reserved
Penwith Gallery
Penwith Gallery
Back Road West
St Ives
TR26 1NL

The exhibition "Cornel Lucas - St Ives Artists 1950s to 1980s" runs from the 27th August,  to coincide with the St Ives September Arts Festival, and then into the new year. The show will include never before seen portraits of the St Ives artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton and Bernard Leach. 

Cornel Lucas married the actress Susan Travers, daughter of Linden Holman, who was a co-director of the Penwith Art Gallery alongside her husband James Holman. James Holman owned the famous Cornish mining and engineering company Holman Brothers based in Camborne. 

Cornel fell in love with St Ives and travelled there to shoot on location and at his Piazza studio during the mid to late 20th century for both commercial assignments and pleasure. The images that will be exhibited include his personal collection of intimate portraits of the most important British artists of the era that lived and worked in St Ives. These images are from the family archive and many have not been exhibited publicly before. 

Cornel Lucas (1920-2012) had a career in portrait photography spanning over 70 years. Born in Highbury London, Lucas began working in the film industry when he was fifteen years old. During the Second World War he worked at the Royal Air Force’ School of Photography, and afterwards at Denham Film Studios. Throughout the rest of the 1940s and 1950s, Lucas pursued his career in film stills and portrait photography working for the British Film Studios. Using a 12x10 large format camera he soon became one of the UK’s leading photographers of movie stars. He left Denham to set up a specially equipped studio at Pinewood Studios, building up associations with Columbia and Universal Studios in the United States. During his illustrious career Lucas photographed an impressive list of film stars and stage actors, including the following: Marlene Dietrich, Leslie Caron, Brigitte Bardot, Katharine Hepburn, Diana Dors, Gregory Peck, Stewart Granger, Dirk Bogarde, Yvonne De Carlo, Federico Fellini, Joan Collins, Alec Guinness, Ben Kingsley, Jean Cocteau, Jean Simmons, Lauren Bacall and Bob Hope (to name a few!). 

In 1959 Lucas left Pinewood, setting up a studio of his own and expanding into fashion photography and advertising. His work has been much celebrated. In 1998 Lucas received a BAFTA Award for his "Outstanding Contribution to the British Film Industry". Cornel Lucas remains to this day the only photographer ever to have been awarded this title and his work is held in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery London, the V&A Museum London, and the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Examples of his work can be seen at

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