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Explore Artistic Wonders in Falmouth: The John Dyer Gallery and the Falmouth Art Gallery

  • 10 min read

John Dyer, Joanne Short and Wilamena Dyer at Falmouth Art Gallery

Above: Falmouth based artists John Dyer and Joanne Short with their daughter Wilamena Dyer pictured at John Dyer's retrospective exhibition in 2018 at Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall

Are you interested in the art at Falmouth Art Gallery? With historic and modern collections, including the RCPS Tuke Collection, this gallery showcases a diverse artistic heritage since 1923 including paintings by John Dyer, Joanne Short and Ted Dyer who's new paintings and prints can be found at The John Dyer Gallery. Falmouth Art Gallery is accessible and located centrally in Falmouth, it provides opportunities for community engagement through its exhibitions and events. Our article will walk you through what to expect during your visit, highlighting key exhibits and experiences that define the gallery’s esteemed reputation in Cornwall.

The John Dyer Gallery: Buy The Best Falmouth Art Online

Key Takeaways

  • Falmouth Art Gallery features an extensive collection including the RCPS Tuke Collection, British impressionism, and modern photography, which is enriched by past contributions from Alfred de Pass.

  • The gallery actively involves the community with a dynamic exhibition program, engagement with local groups, free admission, and accessibility, fostering artistic exchange and inclusivity.

  • Falmouth Art Gallery often works with artist John Dyer from the Falmouth based John Dyer Gallery which provides global online access to contemporary Cornish art, offering a convenient platform for purchasing and appreciating regional artwork.

Discovering Falmouth Art Gallery & The John Dyer Gallery

Falmouth Art Gallery’s distinguished art collection has been delighting art enthusiasts since 1923. The gallery owes its growth to Alfred de Pass, a businessman and art benefactor, who significantly contributed to its collection, enriching it with major donations and purchases. The gallery’s collection is a treasure trove of British impressionist paintings, taking you on a journey through time and presenting a vibrant panorama of Falmouth art.

The John Dyer Gallery, based in Falmouth, is another gem that art lovers shouldn’t miss. The gallery offers private appointments to view contemporary paintings and it’s also available online worldwide. This makes it possible for art enthusiasts from all corners of the globe to access and appreciate the stunning works of talented artists John Dyer, Ted Dyer and Joanne Short.

Falmouth Art Gallery

Above:  Falmouth artist Joanne Short (seen on the far left) taking part in the Falmouth Art Gallery (see building in the background) supported Falmouth Carnival in 2009

Falmouth Art Gallery is a microcosm of diverse artistic styles and subjects. Its impressive Falmouth Art Gallery Collection includes the RCPS Tuke Collection, a stunning array of British Impressionist paintings, and an intriguing selection of modern photography.

Let’s delve deeper into this outstanding collection and see what makes it so special.

The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society (RCPS) Tuke Collection

The RCPS Tuke Collection at the Falmouth Art Gallery is truly a sight to behold. It encompasses over 280 works by the renowned artist Henry Scott Tuke, a significant figure in Falmouth’s history. Tuke’s works, such as ‘August Blue’ (1893-94), are celebrated for their unique style and profound influence on Falmouth’s artistic history.

The collection includes notable pieces like “Study for Bathing Boys” (1912), “The Message” (1890), and “French Barque in Falmouth Bay,” among others. Tuke’s travels to Italy and the Caribbean further added an international perspective to his work, making this collection a captivating fusion of local and global influences.

British Impressionism and Beyond

British Impressionism, characterised by its fascination with light and color, has a strong representation in the Falmouth Art Gallery. The gallery houses notable pieces by influential British impressionists such as Sir Alfred Munnings, Ted Dyer and Laura Knight, who were deeply inspired by the Cornish light.

"Ted Dyer takes great care over composition, grouping figures to help create a uniquely narrative style. French plein-air painters, the Newlyn School and the representational section of the British contemporary art scene have all had influences on his work." Falmouth Art Gallery

Above: Walking in a Snow Flurry, Falmouth. Oil on board, 26 x 31 cms by Ted Dyer. Part of the public collection of art at Falmouth Art Gallery.

The collection extends beyond the impressionist era, including both earlier and later works by major artists, illustrating the evolution of styles and subjects throughout art history. An example is the work of Henry Scott Tuke, whose versatility as an artist is highlighted in the context of British Impressionism at the gallery and paintings by John Dyer and Joanne Short.

Above: 'Gateway to Cornwall' by John Dyer commissioned and purchased with funding from Brunel 200, Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Bristol City Council and Business West for the UK's public art collection by Falmouth Art Gallery. Buy limited edition prints online View the original painting at Falmouth Art Gallery

Photography and Modern Narratives

Above:  Picasso with Antony Penrose, a photograph in the Falmouth Art Gallery collection by Lee Miller (1907-1977), bearing the Lee Miller Archives stamp, dimensions 37.9 x 29.8 cm. Acquired through the support of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation in 2004. © Lee Miller Archive. All rights reserved.

Photography is another significant component of the Falmouth Art Gallery’s collection. Among the featured photographers is Lee Miller, who transitioned from a Vogue model to a renowned artist and World War II correspondent. The gallery features 19 of Miller’s works, which encompass powerful imagery such as the London Blitz and the liberation of Paris.

Above:  The Connoisseur - John Dyer at Newquay Zoo, a photograph by Lisa Chapman, measuring 27 x 24 cm. Donated by the artist in conjunction with the Heritage Lottery Fund's celebrations for Darwin 200. Buy Signed prints of the penguin painting. Also available as a wall art print

The modern photography collection at Falmouth Art Gallery includes a variety of contemporary prints and photographs that add layers to the gallery’s narrative. These works reflect current artistic narratives, offering a fresh perspective on various themes such as:

  • Portraits

  • Landscapes

  • Still life

  • Abstract photography

A Special Trip for Art Enthusiasts

A visit to the Falmouth Art Gallery is not just about observing art, it’s about fully immersing yourself in a vibrant exhibition and event program. The gallery’s program includes:

So, every visit offers something new and exciting.

Upcoming Exhibitions

The exhibition program at Falmouth Art Gallery is constantly changing, offering a fresh array of works for visitors to view. The exhibitions are regularly updated, featuring a range of themes and including selections from their photography collection. This ever-changing display ensures that every visit offers a new experience.

The gallery has been host to notable past exhibitions such as ‘Surrealists on Holiday’ in Cornwall and ‘Matisse’, often in collaboration with institutions like Penlee House Museum and Gallery and Royal Cornwall Museum Truro. These collaborations allow the gallery to bring unique and diverse works to Falmouth, offering visitors an unparalleled artistic experience.

Engaging Community Groups

Falmouth Art Gallery actively seeks to develop partnerships with local community groups. The gallery staff design activities tailored to the needs of specific groups or visitors, ensuring a unique and personalized experience for each group. From free talks and tours to art workshops, every visit is engaging with new learning experiences. Falmouth artist John Dyer has been a lead in this activity for many decades delivering environmental and Tall Ships inspired art painting workshops in the gallery.

Above: Falmouth artist John Dyer in the Falmouth Art Gallery running a Tall Ships inspired painting workshop.
“The buzz generated in the gallery and at schools during the John Dyer workshops has been fantastic. It has been absolute pleasure to work with the children and the reward has been evident by their smiling faces as they hold their finished painting or story ready to submit for the competition." Falmouth Art Gallery

The gallery also provides space for community displays. Groups like:

  • Falcare

  • Age Concern

  • Local schools

  • Falmouth University

People and children are often encouraged to create art in response to current exhibitions. This initiative not only fosters community engagement but also allows for a wider interpretation and appreciation of the exhibitions.

In 2018 Falmouth Art Gallery partnered with the John Dyer Gallery to put on a major retrospective exhibition celebrating John Dyer's 50th birthday and his unique art and legacy to the UK.

Children's Illustration Archive: A World of Imagination

Young art enthusiasts aren’t left out at Falmouth Art Gallery. The gallery houses a cherished collection of children’s book illustrations that form an integral part of its diverse art works. With illustrations from publications Captain Pugwash, Beano, Thomas the Tank Engine, Rupert and many more.

The Gallery Structure: Exploring Different Levels

The Falmouth Art Gallery is comfortably nestled within the historic Municipal Buildings, making it easily accessible to all visitors. Whether you’re exploring with a pushchair or a wheelchair, the gallery accommodates everyone with wheelchair-friendly toilets and baby change facilities.

Let’s delve into the transformation of these Municipal Buildings and discover what lies on the upper floor.

Municipal Buildings and Their Artistic Transformation

Established on October 12, 1978, the Falmouth Art Gallery found its home on the upper floor of the historic Municipal Buildings in Falmouth. Over the years, a significant renovation, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund among other bodies, saw the buildings transform into a vibrant artistic center. This transformation was under the guidance and standards compliance of the Falmouth Town Council, solidifying the gallery’s official status in the cultural landscape.

Located in the center of Falmouth on The Moor, the gallery’s prime location in the Municipal Buildings underscores its integration into the heart of the town’s civic life. Its location makes it an integral part of the town’s cultural fabric, accessible to locals and visitors alike.

Upper Floor Discoveries

Above: Falmouth artist John Dyer pictured at his Falmouth Art Gallery retrospective exhibition in 2018 in the main gallery space. John Dyer's Painting the Colours of the World Exhibition

The upper floor of the Falmouth Art Gallery is a treasure trove of artistic delights. This space houses a diverse range of artistic styles and subjects, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the gallery. From British Impressionist paintings to contemporary prints and photographs, the upper floor offers a rich and diverse artistic experience. You will often find examples of John Dyer's paintings on display in the main gallery or you can request to view the paintings by the artist they hold in the permanent public collection of art.

Above: 'Zooing Around' 33 x 40 inches acrylic on board by Falmouth based artist John Dyer. Purchased with Heritage Lottery Funding for the UK's public art collection and displayed at Falmouth Art Gallery.

Whether you’re a fan of the old masters or intrigued by modern surrealist pieces, there’s something for everyone. The upper floor is also home to the beloved Children’s Illustration Archive, making it a delightful exploration for visitors of all ages. Every corner of this floor promises a new discovery, a new story, and a new perspective on art.

Above: A print of Joanne Short's oil painting 'View from the Garden Falmouth' that is owned and exhibited by Falmouth Art Gallery as part of the UK's public collection of art.

Falmouth Art Gallery's Role in the Community

Falmouth Art Gallery is more than just a space to display art; it’s a community hub managed actively by the Falmouth Town Council. The gallery’s commitment to community engagement and inclusivity is reflected in its wide-ranging programs and facilities. Some key features of the gallery include:

  • Free admission to all, aligning with community values and making art accessible to everyone

  • Community-focused programs and events that encourage participation and engagement

  • Inclusive spaces and facilities that cater to diverse audiences and needs

The gallery’s ‘Creative Practice for Wellbeing’ program, including specific initiatives like ‘Discover Arts’ and a 6-week course by Eve Bourrat, demonstrates the gallery’s investment in the wellbeing of individuals facing long-term illness and disability through artistic expression. Additionally, Falmouth Art Gallery’s educational outreach includes free talks, workshops, and activities catering to all ages, fostering relationships with local schools, community groups, and higher education institutions.

The John Dyer Gallery - Falmouth's Leading Independent Online Gallery

Above: Falmouth artist Joanne Short pictured at the John Dyer Gallery in Falmouth.

Art lovers who can’t visit Falmouth in person can still experience its vibrant art scene through The John Dyer Gallery which has worked closely with Falmouth Art Gallery on community projects and exhibition events. As Falmouth’s leading independent online gallery, it offers a wide range of Cornish art, allowing art enthusiasts from all over the world to explore and appreciate the unique works of John Dyer and other local artists.

Online Cornish Art

The John Dyer Gallery’s online catalog of art is a testament to the rich and diverse art scene in Cornwall. The gallery features a variety of Cornish art, including works by local artists and unique prints. These works represent the distinctive artistic style of Cornwall, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.

The online gallery offers a convenient platform for art enthusiasts to:

  • Browse and purchase art at their own pace

  • Find unique pieces to add to their collection

  • Purchase gifts for fellow art lovers

  • Enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience

  • Have Cornish art delivered to their doorstep

Buy Cornish Paintings in Falmouth and Meet the Artists

Visiting Falmouth, located on Cornwall’s south coast, offers more than just the opportunity to view beautiful art; it’s a chance to truly immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene. One of the unique experiences Falmouth offers is the chance to purchase Cornish paintings and meet the talented artists behind the works if you identify a painting you would like to buy from

Whether you’re looking for a piece by a renowned artist or a rising talent, Falmouth’s other galleries offer a wide selection of art to choose from. Meeting the artists at The John Dyer Gallery does add a personal touch to the experience, offering a deeper understanding of the work and the inspiration behind it. So, why just admire art when you can own a piece of Falmouth’s artistic heritage to enjouy for a lifetime at home?


In conclusion, Falmouth is a treasure trove of artistic wonders, offering a rich and diverse art scene that caters to all tastes. Whether you’re exploring the diverse collection at Falmouth Art Gallery, browsing the online prints at John Dyer Gallery, or purchasing Cornish paintings from local artists in person with a personal appointment at The John Dyer Gallery, Falmouth offers a unique and immersive artistic experience. So, the next time you’re in Cornwall, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Falmouth’s artistic wonders and take a piece of it home with you.

Invest in Paintings Online or by Appointment by Falmouth's Best Known Artists

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to go to the Falmouth Art Gallery?

The Falmouth Art Gallery is family friendly and free to visit. There is no cost to enjoy the vibrant and ambitious exhibitions program.

Is the Falmouth Art Gallery dog friendly?

Yes, the Falmouth Art Gallery is dog-friendly as long as the dog is on a lead.

What is the pre Raphaelite exhibition in Falmouth?

The pre Raphaelite exhibition in Falmouth is a 12-month touring exhibition featuring large oil paintings, sketches, illustrated books, and more, all exploring the King Arthur legend through the lens of Pre-Raphaelite artists and their followers.

What is the difference between art gallery and museum?

The main difference between an art gallery and a museum is that an art gallery is a commercial enterprise selling exhibited artworks, while a museum is a non-commercial institution curated for cultural and educational purposes. Therefore, the primary distinction lies in their commercial versus non-commercial nature.

What are some of the key collections at the Falmouth Art Gallery?

Some key collections at the Falmouth Art Gallery include the RCPS Tuke Collection, British Impressionist paintings, and a modern photography collection with works by Lee Miller. These collections offer a diverse range of artistic styles and periods.

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