The Grade II listed Anchor Studio in Newlyn is, along with Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, probably the oldest artist’s studio in the country. It doesn’t have the incredible range of significant artists associated with Porthmeor, but for over 100 years it was owned and occupied by just two artists of very different styles, who each played key roles in the development of their respective Art Movements.
Anchor Studio is part-stone part-timber construction, and was built in 1888 in the heart of Newlyn for Stanhope Forbes, the most celebrated of the Newlyn School artists. He started the Newlyn School of Painting in 1899 with his first wife Elizabeth, also a noted artist, and it ran until 1940. Following his death in 1947, Anchor was sold by his widow Maude to one of his former pupils, John Wells.
John Wells lived and worked at Anchor until his death in 2000. Wells was an abstract painter and constructivist, who was friends with and influenced by Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo. Despite living in Newlyn, he was one of several young modernist artists closely associated with artistic life in post-war St Ives.
Following the death of John Wells, Anchor Studio was gifted to the Borlase Smart Memorial Fund in 2002, which changed its name to the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust in recognition of this bequest.