Collection: Morwenna Thistlethwaite

Morwenna Thistlethwaite was an artist virtually unknown outside the tiny district of St Ives where, from her mid-60s on, she lived and worked. Born in 1912 in Kew, at 14 Thistlethwaite met the painter Borlase Smart in Scotland, who suggested she study at the St Ives School founded by Leonard Fuller. She instead enrolled as a mature student at Leamington Spa Art College in 1938 for two years, and then Birmingham College of Art for four years during the war, where she was a prize-winning scholarship student.

In 1976 Thistlethwaite relocated to an old family home in colloquial ‘Downalong’, Victoria Place, in the Mount Zion area of St Ives, and became a regular of the local art scene. Her subjects were typically imagined interior scenes, muted still lifes, or paintings of the world going by, tinged by a dreamlike, cryptic quality in the vein of Winifred Nicholson. In 1997 ill health forced Thistlethwaite to leave St Ives for Surrey, where she died in December 2000.