We take a look at one of Cornwall’s finest, inspired-by-the-coast galleries.
Part of a building that’s stood the test of time since being built in 1840, overlooking Porthleven’s archetypally Cornish harbourside, the Customs House Gallery, owned and run by John and Louise Winterton, has established a sterling reputation for exhibiting beautiful work from some of the finest local and locally-inspired artists.
Having moved down in the early ‘90s, John knew he’d never leave; and Louise, a proud Porthleven girl, knew that wherever her life took her, she’d always come back. Having successfully built on this exceptional gallery’s reputation since taking it over at the end of 2012, they’re a credit to their own success.
On entering the gallery, it’s plain to see that the pair share a passion for art. While modest to a fault, they clearly take great pride in what they’ve achieved and the way in which the Customs House is arranged quite simply emanates their love for what they do. Also, one of a few galleries in Cornwall to join the national Own Art initiative, John and Louise are able to make buying and collecting art more affordable, the initiative aiming to build a sustainable, resilient creative economy that makes art accessible to all.
The artists who display in the Customs House clearly share a passion for the Cornish coast, yet visitors can find a refreshing diversity in the eclectic mix of styles adopted by each individual artist. Each piece is personally chosen by John and Louise and, together, they make for a gallery that’s beautifully understated, allowing each piece to individually and uniquely draw the eye.
And it’s not hard to see where they, and the artists they represent, find their inspiration. Taking a walk around Porthleven quay, as the sun glistens off the azure waters of the Atlantic tide and lights up the faces of Porthleven’s iconic clock tower, it’s clear why so many talented, creative individuals are drawn here. In fact, throughout the year, Porthleven never ceases to inspire awe, particularly as the Atlantic storms rage and throw themselves against the sturdy harbour walls that, for centuries, have stood up to their destructive tantrums.
These moments of drama have never been captured more aptly than by some of the stunning photography on display in the Customs House Gallery. Complemented by the intuitive use of oils, paints, metal craft, glasswork and ceramics, the array of pieces on display capture every mood of our coast, be it through a glowing sunset, raging swell, the sun peering through ominous clouds on the horizon, or lonely clifftop flowers swaying in the wind. To say that John and Louise have captured the essence of the sea would be a gross understatement!
What’s more, offering a bespoke framing service, combining a wide range of framing choices with a quality, competitively-priced service, means that when you next visit Porthleven, you can walk away with a complete new addition to your home that’s ready to stand the test of time.
With prices for pieces ranging from £10 to £6,000, the Customs House Gallery has something for you, whatever your taste and budget, and is open throughout the year; seven days a week from Easter to the end of October and six days a week in the winter, but can be opened on Monday by appointment. So, why not pop in yourself and take a look at some of Cornwall’s best, coastally inspired art?
THE CUSTOMS HOUSE GALLERY
Commercial Road, Porthleven TR13 9JD