Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: In her own words 1940-1947

A talk presented by Janet Axten MA at the St Ives Arts Club as part of the St Ives Festival 2016, supported by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust and St Ives Archive.

Using diaries and letters belonging to Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Janet Axten’s talk focussed on the artist’s very first years in St Ives after arriving there in March 1940. It did not take long for Willie, as she was known, to meet people and become a part of an active social group that centred around the Stokes, Nicholsons and Gabos. However it was not all plain sailing and there were moments when Willie questioned why she had come to this remote part of the country. Despite these feelings she persevered and went on to live there for the rest of her life. This illuminating talk brings to life part of the history of St Ives in the early 1940s looking at the people rather than the art, using photographs from St Ives archive. Digital copies of the diaries and Willie’s correspondence from the 1940s were deposited with St Ives Archive by the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust (aka The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust) in August 2016.