Queer Cornwall: Marlow Moss, Gluck and Ithell Colquhoun in Lamorna | Tate



Lamorna is a small village on the Cornish coast, in the far southwest of England. The expansive skies and landscapes of the area have long been a draw for artists, most famously painters associated with the Newlyn school such as Laura Knight, Alfred Munnings and Lamorna Birch.

Less well known are the ground-breaking queer artists who set down roots in the village: Marlow Moss, Gluck and Ithell Colquhoun.

In this film, we tell their story, and the story of the Cornwall where they lived and loved: a place of international modernism, Celtic spiritualism and the queer avant-garde.

A Note on Language:

Telling the stories of these three artists asks us to consider our concepts of gender and sexuality, and how we perceive and represent queer figures of the past.

The word ‘queer’ itself has a mixed history, used both as a term of abuse and as a term by LGBTQIA+ people to refer to themselves. In recent times, it has become reclaimed as a fluid term for people of different sexualities and gender identities. In this film, we use ‘queer’ in this broad and inclusive sense, rather than making specific assumptions about how these artists would choose to identify.

Similarly, while Moss and Gluck may have been happy being described with the binary pronouns of their time, we can never be sure. It’s impossible to know whether these artists would today identify as genderqueer, non-binary, trans, butch and/or lesbian. In this film, we use neutral pronouns when referring to them. This is an option that honours all possibilities, and draws no conclusions. 

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