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A Manx Artist Rediscovered 31 October 2006

What do you know about the Manx artist Edward Ashton Cannell and why does he seem to have been forgotten? Manx National Heritage will be exploring that theme with an exhibition of Ashton Cannell’s work to be staged at the Manx Museum in January 2007.

Ashton Cannell may not be as well-known as his art school contemporaries, Bryan Kneale and Norman Sayle, but his work follows in a long tradition of Manx artists, such as Archibald Knox, who have specialised in watercolours of the Isle of Man and further afield. The forthcoming exhibition will present some of his watercolour paintings of Manx scenes as well as English landscapes and river views. Edward Ashton Cannell with his silver medal winning painting

Edward Ashton Cannell (1927-1994) was born in Port Erin and brought up in Port St Mary, where his father was the well-known manager of the Isle of Man Bank. Educated at King William’s College, Ashton Cannell first trained as an artist at the Douglas School of Art and then later at the Liverpool School of Art in the 1940s. Following graduation, he taught at the Douglas School of Art and then moved to London to teach art. He went onto establish himself as a successful artist in London through exhibitions and membership of several art societies, such as the Wapping Group of Artists. One of his Manx watercolours, entitled ‘Shrouded Hills near Niarbyl, Isle of Man’ is part of the prestigious British Government Art Collection.

Yvonne Cresswell, Social History Curator for Manx National Heritage commented that:

“Although Ashton Cannell lived most of his adult life in England, he frequently returned to his beloved Island to visit family and friends and as a result many of his paintings are of Manx scenes. He may not be well-known now as a Manx artist but I hope that this exhibition will re-establish him as a Manx artist on the Isle of Man.”

As part of the preparation for the exhibition, Manx National Heritage would like to hear from anyone who may remember Edward Ashton Cannell or could provide memories about the Douglas School of Art in the late 1940s. Manx National Heritage would also like to hear from anyone who may have artwork by Edward Ashton Cannell that they would be willing to have copied for the exhibition.

The exhibition “Ashton Cannell: A Manx Artist Rediscovered” will be staged at the Manx Museum from 27th January 2007.

For further information, please contact: Yvonne Cresswell, Social History Curator, Manx National Heritage

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