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Cornish Classics

image of Stanhope Forbes and Elizabeth Forbes
Stanhope Forbes and Elizabeth Forbes
by Mrs Lionel Birch

ISBN: 978 185022 302 3
216x135mm - 104 pages

REDUCED!   First published in 1906 this title is now back in print after a period of nearly a hundred years. 

Alison Bevan, Director of Penlee Gallery in her introduction refers to Elizabeth and Stanhope Forbes as being the two Newlyn artists that have "lingered in the public consciousness". It could be argued that they were the most influential and in 1906 they were at the height of their powers.

We are fortunate that this is not a true biography in that much of the text is a transcription of Stanhope's and Elizabeth's own words. It is this access to their own voices which makes the book so fascinating today. Not only does this book give a contemporary perspective on two of the key figures of the Newlyn colony, it allows them both to speak to us directly, and put their own slant on history.

Hindsight gives this book particular poignancy: in only six years time Elizabeth was to die of cancer and a decade after publication their son Alex lost his life in the Great War.

One of the things which makes Mrs Birch's book so special is that it captures a fleeting moment of untroubled innocence, not only in her subjects' lives, but also in the history of the village and the country as a whole.

Remarkably, little is known about Mrs Lionel Birch other than she was born in Genoa. Constance Mary Innes was the daughter of Surgeon General Sir John Harry Ker Innes, later to become honorary surgeon to Queen Victoria.

8 black and white photographs.

image of Tudor Cornwall
Tudor Cornwall
by AL Rowse

ISBN: 978 185022 301 6
216x135mm - 482 pages

Philip Payton writes in his introduction that AL Rowse produced over a hundred books, but there is one work that stands head and shoulders above the rest - Tudor Cornwall: Portrait of a Society.

It had taken Rowse over a decade to produce partly due to ill health but mainly through his desire to widen his theme from a straightforward account of the Reformation in Cornwall to a much broader canvas a complete picture, a rounded whole......of a small homogenous society.......which in the course of sixteenth century became absorbed into the main steam of English Life.

On publication it was universally applauded; the Sunday Times grasped immediately the significance of Rowse's approach and caught the spirit of the book. He tells of the change from the Cornwall of the War of the Roses , wild, unruly, un-English and defiant to the Cornwall of Elizabeth's later years, patriotic and Protestant, a bulwark of the realm.

The Times Literary Supplement in its review detected something more a sense that Cornwall was being exploited for the benefit of foreigners runs through the whole of Mr Rowse's book.  The reappearance in print of Tudor Cornwall is therefore timely and will be welcomed warmly; not only by professional historians, but by a new generation of the reading public who will now have ready access to this Cornish classic, beautifully written and as sparkling and engaging as when it was first saw the light of day in 1941.