Ope' n' studios

An eye-catching collection of work is cluttering the hallways of the gallery at the moment waiting to be hung, as our resident artists get ready for Open Studios Cornwall on the 29th August.

One particular exclusive collection by Dave Pentin will be on show in the first-floor event space. A stunning series of seven images, Dave has been working hard to turn his long term fascination with the local passageways - Ope's - into a series of paintings specifically for the event. 

Although found throughout the South-West, the word Ope is featured in the Cornish dictionary, as meaning an alley (between buildings). In Cornwall, Ope's typically sprung up in between workshops and houses which bordered the quays and water's edge. They became essential rat runs to allow a smooth transfer of good between ship and shore. Although the industry around the quays has long since changed, many of the important trading towns still retain the original Ope's which wind between the labyrinth of houses. 

Barracks Ope is one of the most famous of these alleyways which has been immortalised by many artists. Its allure is the historical connection to Falmouth's colourful trading history and the tempting glimpse of the sea beyond. Like Dave, Colin Brown, Steve Read, Rich Sutton and Seasalt illustrator Matt Johnston have all captured the majesty of this commanding view in different mediums.

Falmouth is not the only Cornish town to boast an Ope or two. Helston's maritime trading history can be recognised in the names -  Upton Ope, Cobbled Ope, Coinage Ope. And Truro's heritage is reflected in - Carne Ope, Lampier's Ope, Mallets Ope, Chyvelah Ope, Roberts Ope, Jacksons Ope, Tonkins Ope. 

Tonkins Ope also makes an appearance in Penryn, along with Old Quay Ope and College Ope. Dave has managed to capture the old-style charm of these and other unusual local alleyways in his series of paintings which also includes Picketts Yard, Bakehouse Court, Bank Cottages, Easom's Yard.

Dave hopes to extend his series further to add Fountain Ope, Stiles Ope, Tregonnings Ope, Custom House Ope in Falmouth. Along with the intriguing passageways of the past in Penzance and St Ives.


Dave's series of intriguing passageway paintings will be on show in the Terrace Gallery from Thursday 27th August to Sunday 6th September during the Open Studios Cornwall event from 12-6 pm every day.

Related Bakehouse Court Bank Cottages College Ope Dave pentin Easom's Yard Falmouth greetings cards helston maritime history Old Quay Ope Ope paintings passageway penryn Picketts Yard port prints seasalt illustration Tonkins Ope truro

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