Ponckles Cat Gallery and Studio, St Ives
Ponckle is one of those Cornish artists whose paintings you just have to own, no matter what your taste in art. Characteristically quirky, her paintings are all, or mostly, about cats around St Ives.
I first discovered Ponckle, and visited Ponckle's old studio, the original Ponckle's Gallery, in the mid 1990s, when visiting with a sibling who is a great fan of Ponckle's work, owning 3-4 of her cat paiintings. Firstly I was dragged round St Ives and finally into this magical studio, named the Pink Palace by Ponckle. Ponckle sold the Pink Palace in 2004 after she had a stroke, it became a restaurant then a gallery again.
I can still remember the wibbly-wobbly look of it all, old steps leading up to first floor level and into a tiny studio, with another small room off it. Ponckle was sitting at a table in the first room. The gallery was crammed with art, Ponckle's art, mostly cat paintings. And outside there were 3-4 cats lazing in the sun. It was one of those "I'll remember that holiday forever" moments.
I passed Ponckle's old studio again just two weeks ago - I pointed and said "isn't that where Ponckle used to be?" It looked so different, it'd all been regularised and made to look chic. I preferred the old tumbledown wibbly-wobbly, typically Cornish look of the original studio, which to me was a landmark building!
Ponckle has been painting scenes around St Ives, much of the time including cats or being about cats, for over 20 years. So I saw her early work. She works hard to keep producing Cornish art in her own unique style of naïve art.
Her painting is vibrant and cheery - the kind of art you'd buy and cherish forever as just seeing it would sweep you immediately back to St Ives. Ponckle's art depicts everyday life in St Ives, where there used to be cats everywhere... not so many these days with so many holiday homes and visitors, but St Ives used to be crawling with cats! And I think Ponckle's painted them all. A lot of her cat paintings depicted her own beloved pets and strays that adopted her along the way - as well as other local cats. She'd theme the paintings around events or buildings around town.
Ponckle moved out of her quirky studio and into a modern studio building in the town a number of years back, but II never visited Ponckle's Gallery at her new studio - the sign that day said "Gone to Lunch", I still yearn for the old studio, with the cats and I didn't really want to spoil my memories of that first visit.
If you want a Ponckle though, you really had to visit Ponckle's Gallery because she didn't have a website and it's almost impossible to find anybody selling any of her work. One place where you can buy Ponckle cat paintings online through other online outlets that have sprung up recently.
There are a number of Ponckle cat paintings from most years and a very small selection of prints for sale.... which means, you really have have a choice of Ponckle's paintings.
Through research, I did discover one of Ponckle's paintings, from 1986, had sold for £150 - a good eye for art and a good investment made there!
Ponckle The Cat Painter of St Ives: The Book
A new book about Ponckle's art and entitled "Ponckle The Cat Painter of St Ives" was published on 6 June 2013 and available at Amazon.
This 104 page paperback is available from 6 June 2013 and will feature many of Ponckle Fletcher's paintings.
Published by Redcliffe Press Ltd was published on 6 June 2013.
its ISBN numbers are:
- ISBN-10: 1908326352
- ISBN-13: 978-1908326355
Buy from UK Amazon:
- Ponckle: The Cat Painter of St Ives: Amazon.co.uk: Gavin Clark, Jake Clark: Books
UK Shipping from Amazon.co.uk Ponckle: The Cat Painter of St Ives: by Gavin Clark, Jake Clark: Books. Ponckle Gallery book published 6 June 2013
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Ponckle Artist Obituary
It is with regret that I have to write that the artist Ponckle passed away in April 2012. An obituary can be read at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/apr/18/ponckle-fletcher-obituary
RIP Ponckle Fletcher, 1934-2012
Directions to Ponckles Art Gallery
Opening Hours: Not known. Phone to ask.
Address: Ponckles Cat Gallery, Whites Yard, Porthmeor Road, St. Ives, TR26 1NP
Telephone: 01736 799819
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 20, 2010:
Ok, Ponckles is a FABULOUS name. Hahaa, the art looks pretty cool too!