Edward Bouverie Hoyton: Master Etcher

Penlee House Gallery and Museum

18 January – 22 March 2014

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £4.50)

National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to over 240 venues across the UK as well as 50% off major exhibitions.

Find out more

Prints documenting the fishing towns and coastal landscape of Cornwall, where the artist lived from 1939 until his death in 1988.

Edward Bouverie Hoyton was one of The Goldsmiths’ Group who, in the 1920s, helped to revive the craft of original hand-made prints that had been largely overtaken by mass-production printing methods.

He and his contemporaries, including Graham Sutherland, Paul Drury, Eric Frazer, Robin Tanner and William Larkins, were inspired by Samuel Palmer whose etchings had been exhibited at the V&A Museum to high acclaim.

Bouverie Hoyton won the Rome Scholarship in Engraving on his third attempt in 1926, which led to three years studying printmaking in Italy, but the Wall Street Crash meant he was not able to fully realise his career as an artist.

Instead, he turned to graphic design, producing commercial art for companies such as Fortnum and Mason, Standard Cars, Shell Oil, Daimler, Austin Reed and The Radio Times.

In 1935 he was appointed as a lecturer of printmaking and art history at Leeds College of Art, where he met his wife Inez and four years later they moved to Cornwall so he could take up the role of Principal at the Penzance School of Art.

Bouverie Hoyton injected a new sense of purpose into the college, creating part time adult education classes and bringing in guest lecturers such as John Tunnard, and Bernard Leach, as well as the latter's sons, Michael and David Leach.

It was here Bouverie Hoyton was able to reconnect with Barbara Hepworth, whom he had met while they were in Rome and he was introduced to her circle of friends, which included artists Naum Gabo and John Wells.

Possibly inspired by his friends in St Ives and the Scilly scenery, Bouverie Hoyton experimented with abstraction, creating geometric landscapes that border on the surreal.

In later years, he distanced himself from this stylistic aberration, claiming that it was done simply 'to prove to myself how easy it was', and, by the 1950s, his work had returned to more representational landscape etchings.

Following his retirement from Penzance School of Art in 1965, Bouverie Hoyton dedicated his time to printmaking and to developing a market for his work.

Among other projects, he produced illustrations for the Holman’s of Camborne calendar which was distributed around the world, and by the 1970s and 80s there was an increased demand for his etchings, especially among North American print collectors.

Venue information

Opening times

1 Apr – 31 Oct
Daily, 10am - 5pm

1 Nov – 31 Mar
Daily,​ 10am – 4.30pm

Last admission 30 mins before closing

Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)