Matthew Lanyon Cornish, 1951-2016


Matthew Lanyon passed away on 6th November 2016.


 ‘I was born in St Ives, Cornwall in 1951, one of six. My father was Peter Lanyon – a landscape painter who became a major figure in the world of art.


‘Shortly before he died in 1964, as the result of a gliding accident, we spent some days together in his studio making a model aircraft. We made prototype wings out of polystyrene and tried to strengthen them with muslin and glue–size. Years later I read what someone had written about his painting ‘Clevedon Night’, which had these two prototype wings attached to the canvas. They might be 'boats bobbing up and down' but I knew what they were. They weren't boats. But it doesn't matter whether this was true or not. That isn't the point – we read our own life into paintings.


‘It was not until 1988 that I began to take my artwork seriously. At that time I was drawing and painting every morning with my son, in the days before he went to school. He always had the best titles. I'd ask him about one of his drawings and he'd say with the absolute sincerity of a four-year-old, “Three Cows Walking on the Water”.


‘Between my father and my son I had begun to address the problem of what anything is, or is meant to be in a painting. If cows could walk on water and bits of polystyrene that were once wings can bob up and down like boats, then painting is alive and the better for being marginalised by all the exquisite distractions of sound and movement.’