“Borlase Smart : a sort of artistic admiral who
marshaled the columns of waves onto his canvases.”
Borlase Smart (1881–1947) grew up in Kingsbridge,
South Devon, later living in Plymouth and working as
art critic for the Western Morning News. In 1913 he
moved to St Ives as a student of Julius Olsson who
had established a school of painting there in 1895.
Olsson introduced Smart to marine painting and it is
for his seascapes that he is today best known.
Smart saw active service on the Western Front
serving in the Artists Rifles and recording his experiences
in a series of powerful sketches. Here he met
Leonard Fuller and the two painters, deeply affected
by their experiences of war, determined together to
join the art colony of St Ives. It was here Smart put
down his roots and concentrated upon his painting,
based on sound draughtsmanship and careful
observation of the movement of the sea.
In this book the author records the life and work
of the artist and the important role he played in
supporting and encouraging younger artists in St Ives
intent on exploring abstraction in their work, despite
facing charges of disloyalty from his fellow Royal
These ‘Moderns’, who once outraged
the art establishment, but who now are recognised
as underpinning the new movement in British art,
owe much to Borlase Smart. This, along with his civic
work and as a benefactor in helping the people of
St Ives, has left a legacy extending far beyond his
own paintings, recognised today in the Borlase Smart
Trust which maintains and safeguards the historic
Marion Whybrow writes about painters,
potters and sculptors, drawing on the rich
culture of St Ives as an art colony. She is
married to the artist Terry Whybrow. They
moved to St Ives from London in 1980 to
pursue their chosen careers in writing and
painting. They have two daughters who
have joined them in the West Country.
Imprint:Halstar. ISBN 978 1 906690 41 0, hardback, 238x258mm, 144 pages. Published August 2012.