This first of four books in the series is a significant contribution to the history of Cornwall, bringing together previously unpublished material and a wealth of fascinating insights From rare books and manuscripts, newspapers, family archives and numerous interviews with the descendants of old Newlyn families. The hard-back book has an attractive dust jacket and it is lavishly illustrated throughout with 197 maps, drawings and photographs, with an extensive general index and separate indexes covering place names and Cornish family names, themselves providing an important reference source for family and local historians.
Newlyn Before the Artists Came, is the first of four volumes that will record Newlyn's history until 1950. It ells its story before the harbours were built and the Newlyn School achieved prominence. This is the tale of seafaring families, fishermen and mariners but also of carpenters and ship-builders, farmers and market gardeners, church and chapelgoers, innkeepers - and women, engaged in 'homework' but capable of surviving and caring for their children when their men were lost at sea. It is also a story of the early artists who came to Newlyn.
There is an intended irony in the title as Newlyn always had its artists, many of them well known. There were artists in Newlyn before the famous Newlyn School was recognised. Most important was John Henry Martin, who was at the peak of his career when he lived in Newlyn. The book also introduces the young Caroline Burland Yates who guides us through Newlyn in 1879 and her future husband Thomas Cooper Gotch and his young friend Henry Scott Tuke, the latter through his paintings leaving us an intimate record of some of the people who lived in Newlyn Town at that time.