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St Ives arts scene stalwart Colin Birchall has died

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

  • Calm Harbour by Colin Birchall of St Ives. Courtesy Hannah Birchall.

  • Colin Birchall, artist and musician, of St Ives, who died suddenly. Hannah Birchall

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A KEY figure in the St Ives arts scene has died.

Artist and musician Colin Birchall died suddenly at his home in Lelant on January 29 aged 65.

Colin ran a gallery in Harbour Galleries, St Ives, as well as holding regular exhibitions in the town.

Daughter Hannah Birchall said: "As well as being one of the more popular and best-selling artists in the area, he also was a keen musician and poet.

"Colin was a regular at open mic events at Norway Square hosted by Bob Devereux at the St Ives Festival where he would play guitar and also share his poetry."

Colin Birchall was born in West London in 1948 and studied graphic design at Twickenham College of Art.

He graduated in 1969 and worked as an art director and designer at a number of advertising and design agencies in London before moving to Cornwall in 1987 to devote more time to painting.

Initially he worked as a senior lecturer at Falmouth School of Art and Design and after a spell as a freelance designer and illustrator, began painting full time in 1992.

He painted a wide variety of subjects.

But the Penwith landscape and rocky coastline provided the main source of inspiration for what latterly became increasingly abstract work.

St Ives September Festival director Bob Devereux, himself an artist and poet, said: "He is a big loss. He did not know how talented he was as a poet. He wrote extremely well. He was a good painter and would have become a very good painter.

"He found his voice as a guitarist in Norway Square playing blues. He had been playing in his room for years but had not really been confident.

"Musicians really respected him. He was respected by members of all the artistic disciplines in St Ives. He is a big loss to the town."

Colin was divorced from his former wife Jenny Birchall, herself a well known artist, but the two remained very close friends.

He leaves daughter Hannah and son Matthew.

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