Pictures of St Ives
About St Ives
There is a magical quality surrounding the whole of the Cornish coast of which St.Ives is a small but special part. The charm of this colourful former pilchard fishing village, where at one time it was not unusual to catch sight of fishermen surveying their catch of pilchards or salmon bass, on the beach, has been the inspiration for artists for over two centuries. As well as enchanting beach and seascapes, the beautiful old cottages, rising steeply up cobbled ways above the little town's ancient harbour, spring to life in from canvasses painted by noted artists, such as James McNeill Whistler and Walter Sickert who came to St.Ives in the 19th-century. Noted 20th-century sculptress, Dame Barbara Hepworth, spent most of her life in St. Ives. Her stunning work of Our Lady and Child is in the parish church of St.Ia, and outside the guildhall stands 'Dual Form', a sculpture she presented to the town in celebration and appreciation of the town's reputation as a paradise for artists. This splendid reputation remains today.
A glorious area of sheer enchantment is the old part of the town between the harbour and Porthmeor beach. Here, you will find a bewildering maze of narrow streets and lanes, crammed with a mix-match of picturesque old buildings. The area has much of visual delight for the observant visitor. Above Porthmeor sands lies the imaginative building that is home to Tate St.Ives. The gallery offers a wonderful opportunity to view paintings and works of modern art, the work of artists inspired by the area's abundance of tin, copper, semi-precious stones, rugged cliffs, sandy coves, ancient harbours and beautiful creeks.
Away from the beautiful sandy bays there are winding country lanes with hedgegrows that are laden with wild flowers, these little lanes lead to a hinterland of beautiful countryside, where you can come upon a tranquil villages with a smattering of old stone colour washed cottages or spot in the distance a lonely ruined engine-house, standing as a silent witness to Cornwall's former tin and copper mining industry.
All around St.Ives there are welcoming ancient inns and public houses offering a generous feast of tasty, freshly caught fish and seafood. Historic churches include St. Leonard's, a small church dating from the Middle Ages. It stands on the spot where St.Ia, after whom the town is named, is said to have landed in a coracle from Ireland during the 6th-century. St. Leonard's was the fishermen's church but it now serves other uses.
It is though and always will be the golden sandy beaches and magic of the mighty Atlantic that draws an endless stream of visitors to this lovely part of Cornwall. Porthmeor beach is ideal for surfing, while the sheltered beaches of Porthgwidden and Porthminster offer superb sun bathing and swimming opportunities for all the family. Fishing boats, gaily painted pleasure craft and yachts, all jostle for position along the lively harbour where you can often catch sight of lobster pots being hauled onto the quay.
There is much to see and do in this attractive and atmospheric resort. Garden enthusiasts will be delighted by the variety of sub-tropical flowers, whose growth is encouraged by the all year round mild climate - a factor that draws visitors in every season. For art lovers, the bright cobbled streets are crammed with craft shops, art galleries and antique centre's. Food lovers will enthuse over the choice of mouth watering dishes served in superb restaurants and little children, will enjoy hours spent building sand castles only to watch a wave knock them down again. The mighty Atlantic will thrill and enthral as you explore rocky cliff formations, carved by the ravages of turbulent seas. It is a refreshing place to be, the pace of life is slower, more gentle and the welcome is warm and sincere. For fun, sun, sand and sea served up with a good measure of artistic and historic flavour, a visit to St. Ives is a must.