January 11th Walter Bryan Pearce (Birth)

Walter Bryan Pearce (1929 – 2007) was a naïf painter and today is recognised as one of Britain’s leading painters.  

Born in St. Ives, where he lived in the town for his entire life, Pearce inherited phenylketonuria, a congenital condition caused by insufficient metabolism of phenylalanine.  Encouraged by St. Ives artists, he began drawing and painting in watercolours in 1953 before moving on to oil paint on board and, later, conté crayon.  

He attended the St. Ives School of Painting from 1953 to 1957, which was run by Leonard Fuller (October 11th).  Pearce specialised in paintings of his home town, and the surrounding Penwith area, drawn in typically flat style, with areas of bright colour surrounded by heavy outlines, like stained glass.  

His reputation grew steadily and his work sells for many thousands of pounds including his St. Ives (all round) 1977, which sold at Christie’s for over £50,000 in 2011.

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