During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the idea of the ‘periphery' fascinated artists and writers across Europe and the United States. This international trend also encouraged high levels of artistic migration, both to and from the Celtic fringes.
Rural and coastal locations were captured in paintings that ranged from the naturalistic to the decidedly modern in style and subject matter. Like their continental and American peers, several artists from (or with close connections to) Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland were attracted to Brittany, for instance. These places and people were seen and often represented as distinctive, ‘primitive’ and more authentic in a rapidly modernising world. The periphery offered artists multiple opportunities to create and experiment. And in turn, many painters saw their own homelands through a particular lens.
We look at some of these important artists and their representations of life on the Celtic fringes during a period of intense artistic change and exchange.