|' The Rain it Raineth every Day' Norman Garstin 1889|
Penzance promenade, © Penlee House Museum and Gallery, Penzance town council
Is walking by the seaside in the rain a peculiarly British pastime? I have a youthful memory of seeing "Room at the Top" on holiday in Calabria, where the Italian cinema audience erupted in laughter as the lovers Simone Signoret and Laurence Harvey walked on the beach in pouring rain, (or am I perhaps recalling a scene from "Cinema Paradiso"?).
Norman Garstin was a prominent member of the Newlyn School. Here, the light on that film of water is the heart of this painting; the black umbrella'd figures serve only to frame it and suggest a mood. The whole effect is so convincingly real, tranquil and evocative, no wonder that this is one of Penzance's best-loved paintings.
"With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain" William Shakespeare, Clown's song, Twelfth Night