Blogs for August 2021

Last chance to see Kurt Jackson exhibition at Wheal Martyn

Posted on Monday 23rd August, 2021

Last chance to see Kurt Jackson exhibition at Wheal Martyn

There are just three weeks left for visitors to Wheal Martyn Clay Works to see an exciting new exhibition by contemporary artist Kurt Jackson.

Inspired by his time at Littlejohns Clay Works in Cornwall, the ‘Clay County’ exhibition is on display in the museum’s brand new gallery space until 5 September. Access to the exhibition is free, as part of the normal museum admission fee.

Colin Vallance, Director of Wheal Martyn, said, “Our museum tells the story of Cornwall’s china clay mining industry, making it the perfect place to display Kurt Jackson’s exciting new work. We’re delighted to be able to give our visitors the opportunity to see these magnificent artworks, inspired by an industry which has had an impact on so many people and is very much alive today. Thousands of people have already enjoyed the exhibition and we look forward to welcoming more over the next three weeks.”

Jackson’s work is fuelled by a long standing interest in Cornwall’s extractive industry and its role in shaping the physical landscape, culture and heritage of Cornwall. His creativity was sparked by observing the workers in the pit as they extracted and transported the china clay in this extraordinary man-made landscape. The dramatic weather variations inspired a diverse range of drawings and paintings; in some cases Kurt incorporated the clay and stone itself into his art. The exhibition includes new mixed media paintings, from huge tarpaulin-sized canvases to small intimate studies, as well as a number of ceramic pieces. 

Wheal Martyn’s new gallery and adjoining learning and activity space have been created as part of the museum’s ‘Clay Works’ project, which has given new life to the historic Mica Dry, a designated Scheduled Ancient Monument, and also created a programme of activities and volunteering opportunities. The project has been generously supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, Cornwall Council, Arts Council England, The Pilgrim Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, Historic England, Imerys Minerals Ltd, Pennon Environmental Fund, Cornwall Heritage Trust and the Hobson Charity.

For more information, visit or call 01726 850362.


Cornish illustrator brings treasure stories to life

Posted on Tuesday 3rd August, 2021

Cornish illustrator brings treasure stories to life

A Cornish illustrator is bringing astonishing stories of deep-sea discovery to life under visitors’ feet at Charlestown’s award-winning Shipwreck Treasure Museum.

Writer and artist Felicity Tattersall has put her artistic skill to use by creating a series of illustrations on the floor at the museum which has housed Europe’s largest private collection of shipwreck treasure salvaged from beneath the ocean for more than 40 years.

The artwork, which cover more than 100m2 of floor space within the attraction, introduces some of the museum’s artefacts that visitors will spot later during their visit. Felicity drew them as detailed line drawings that were then hidden amongst large visceral watercolour paintings of seaweed.

Felicity said:

“As a former museum curator and National Trust cataloguer, I’ve always had a passion for historic museum objects and the stories they can tell us. The Shipwreck Treasure Museum is utterly captivating. We wanted to create an entrance experience for visitors which is worthy of the many emotions and sensations that the visit inspires.

“I adore that the collections are encrusted with rust and barnacles and speak to us about their former lives and convey their survival in very different environments. The museum is a chronicle of ‘lost' and ‘found’, human stories and fragments of many lives touched by military conflict, tragedy, or navigational miscalculation.

“The greatest tool we have is our imaginations. We aimed to fire up the visitor's imaginations, enabling them to become treasure seekers, to uncover the artefacts for themselves in the floor, to set the tone for all of the wondrous artefacts they would see during the museum visit.”

Lynné Raubenheimer, Visitor Engagement Manager at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum said:

“Our thousands of amazing, centuries old artefacts on display provide a unique window into the past. The wrecks and the oceans that concealed them acted as an impenetrable time capsule. That is until the mid-20th Century when divers, fuelled by a spirit of adventure and passion for history, finally had the equipment available to start rediscovering them.

“Felicity’s incredible work adds beautifully to the whole magic, romance and intrigue of our displays. Creating an even more immersive experience for young and old alike when they visit us, helping us connect with history.”

The museum is open seven day a week from 10am to 5pm daily. To find out more and pre-book tickets visit


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