As the jacket blurb so succinctly puts it, “Cornwall is artist country”. With such a variety of landscapes and both north and south-facing coasts that give contrasting effects of light, the county does indeed have much to offer and attract the painter.
This is, of course, not a book primarily aimed at the amateur artist, but rather at the art tourist or maybe just the carriage-trade souvenir market in general. It’s certainly a welcome antidote to the usual sort of lucky-charm-piskie tat!
However, we’re not interested in that and the relevance here is not just the fact that this is written by and contains quite lot of the work of Ray Balkwill, but that it also features a huge number of other artists who are associated with or have worked in the county. They include Ken Howard, John Raynes, John Brenton, Amanda Hoskin and more and they have a huge variety of styles that Ray has done well to seat comfortably together. Visually, this is a feast, with illustrations filling many of the 144 pages and a text that sets the locations in context without intruding more than it needs to.
Ray Balkwill has gained many fans as both an author and an artist and his choice of other painters has a significant level of interest and authority that should make this appeal to his fellow practitioners. On top of that, there’s the landscape and topographical interest that gives the publisher a deserved winner.