Garstin Cox was a Cornish landscape artist. His nostalgic, romantic paintings are suffused with love of the Cornish landscape in its varying moods. Cox was born in Camborne. His father was William Cox, also an artist. He grew up there, giving his address as ROSKEAR VILLA, CAMBORNE. He later moved to The Lizard, where his studio was called Atlantic Studio. He studied at Camborne School of Art and in Newlyn and St Ives, mainly under John Noble Barlow. He worked frequently in the Lamorna valley before 1912. Cox was awarded Silver Medals at the County and Polytechnic exhibitions. He was only nineteen when the Royal Academy accepted his THE COMING OF SPRING, depicting the Lamorna stream widening towards the sea, in 1912. This painting was reproduced by a firm of art publishers. In 1913 Cox had two pictures exhibited- SPRINGTIME and MORNING GLORY. The fourth exhibited work was WOODLAND MEMORY in 1919.This is now in Johannesburg Art Gallery in South Africa (it was sold for eighty pounds).. He was a member of the St Ives Art Colony and had work shown at the celebrated Lanham's Gallery. He also exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol. In 1920 he had three paintings of scenes on the River Fal at the RWA . They were painted out of doors and were said to illustrate the artist's range of inspiration as well as his interpretative ability. In 1923 he painted a picture called CLIFF MINING IN CORWNALL which showed the dangerous and precipitous conditions of miners at Botallack. In 1924 he was elected an Associate of the Royal West of England Academy. In 1925 he became a Member of the Newlyn Society of Artists. He exhibited in Liverpool. He certainly painted landscapes elsewhere in Britain. There are several works painted in Surrey, with titles such as AUTUMN IN SURREY and THE LAKE FROM BULMERSHE. He worked on Dartmoor also. His oil painting of TRURO CATHEDRAL FROM KENWYN CHURCHYARD now belongs to the National Trust and may be seen at Lanhydrock House.
His obituary, published in THE CORNISHMAN, said that Cox attracted the attention of established artists, who saw in him "real ability, modesty and unflagging industry. He tried to paint "The thing as he saw it" to catch the moods of Nature, after the manner of recognised masters of landscape painting". "He was little more than a lad when a big canvas was hung in one of the main galleries of Burlington House (Royal Academy) surrounded with other large oils by Members and Associates. His picture was hailed not only as a work of promise but a notable achievement which might have come from the easel of a veteran" ( The large canvas in question was THE COMING OF SPRING, now in a private collection in Cornwall.) The obituary gives the sad details of the illness that led to the artist's untimely death at the age of 41. There was a great blizzard in 1933 and there was also an epidemic of flu. Garstin Cox had been under strain as his father was ill. "Gentle, affectionate, and devoted to home life he sacrificed himself in a strenuous endeavour to save the life of his father who had been stricken with a serious illness. The strain on the son, who had not been in good health during the past year, proved too great. A sharp attack of 'flu resulted in a fortnight in bed, culminating in bronchial pneumonia and his death" The CORNISHMAN obituary goes on to say: Sometime it would be fitting if a collection of sold and unsold works could be brought together in an exhibition, so that we could realise more completely the quality and range of the young Cornishman." THE LANDER GALLERY was proud to contribute to an exhibition devoted to the work of Garstin Cox at the Royal Institution of Cornwall in 2003.
Literature: St IVES 1883- 1993, PORTRAIT OF AN ART COLONY by Marion Whybrow ALL ABOUT LIGHT, an article by TONY COLLIER published in ANTIQUE COLLECTING.