Peter Lanyon

Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings and Three-Dimensional Works

Toby Treves

Publication Date:
8 February 2018
688 pages: 286 x 286 mm
615 colour and 74 black & white


  • Peter Lanyon (1918–1964) was one of the foremost British landscape painters of the twentieth century. Born in St Ives, where he lived for most of his life, he strongly identified with Cornwall, the place that inspired much of his early and mid-career work. In the later 1950s, as other subjects came to predominate, particularly the weather, air and glider flight, he made a series of works that have been compared in their originality and importance for the landscape genre to those of Constable and Turner. 

    This authoritative publication, which is the first catalogue raisonné of Lanyon’s oil paintings and three-dimensional works, reveals the full extent of his oeuvre. Toby Treves fully catalogues each of the 613 works, the great majority of which are sumptuously illustrated in colour. The book also includes three essays: an introduction by the author to Lanyon’s work, an essay by Professor Sam Smiles placing Lanyon in an historical context, and an essay by Mary Bustin (former Tate paintings conservator) and Toby Treves about the artist’s painting technique. In addition, there is a fully illustrated chronology, a comprehensive history of solo and group exhibitions and a selected bibliography.  


  • ‘Toby Treves’s Peter Lanyon: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings and Three-Dimensional Works is the definitive account of the career of one of the leading artists not just of the St Ives School, but also of postwar British painting…the more significant pieces are without fail accorded exemplary catalogue entries, which amount to mini-monographs and pay particular attention to the technical aspects of their creation’ – David Ekserdjian, ‘Best art books of 2018’, Evening Standard

    ‘Contemplating this substantial book, I almost felt I had discovered a new painter, to which no previous exhibition of his work had introduced me. Treves succinctly evokes Lanyon’s formal experiments in prose which is not just eminently readable but also consistently enlightening … This book is full of surprises, not least in terms of the paintings – so many lovely little paintings and unfamiliar but impressive larger ones – and is an essential purchase for any serious admirer of Modern British painting. It will also be the foundation of all future Lanyon scholarship. A model catalogue raisonné and an unexpectedly exciting one.’ – Andrew Lambirth, The Art Newspaper

    ‘An exemplary achievement in art scholarship’ – David Nowell Smith, Frieze magazine

    ‘Treves’s study draws out Lanyon’s profound engagement with the particular landscape of his Cornish homeland, yet also works to rescue him from any associations with parochialism, emphasising his connections with avant-garde artists in the United States and the influence of his travels abroad. The catalogue’s illustrations are plentiful and of good quality, and this wide-ranging overview of Lanyon’s career also takes in his work in three-dimensions, such as the earthy glazed pots he made at various points in the 1950s and the ‘constructions’ of coloured glass, metal, tile and plaster he created alongside his paintings from the late 1930s onwards.’ – Clare Griffiths, Literary Review

    ‘The real remapping of Lanyon’s oeuvre, however, takes place not in the exhibition but in the new publication that it celebrates. Treves has just released a catalogue raisonné, a decade in the making, which brings together all of Lanyon’s known output. The book makes it possible to contemplate the artist’s most famous paintings alongside all the rest: his early, representational landscapes developed under the tutelage of Borlase Smart; his constructivist experiments inspired by Naum Gabo, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, who had resettled in St Ives during the Second World War; his rough and ready sculptures and the dense, dark linocuts he confidently carved from bits of pulled-up flooring.’ – Maggie Gray, Apollo

    ‘There has been scrupulous attention paid to a wealth of documentation…This catalogue will become the prime source book for all Lanyon scholars and those in the art trade.’ – Alexander Adams, The British Art Journal

    ‘This is the heaviest book on the short list, but it is worth every ounce, an absolutely model catalogue raisonné. Lanyon, this book shows, got into his stride from the very start.  The research is formidable and exhaustive. It rightly makes Lanyon appear world class and he is treated here in a grand and appropriate manner. The design is excellent, an unbelievably handsome presentation of Lanyon’s art, a triumph for author and all concerned in the publication. ‘ – judging panel of the William MB Berger Prize for British Art History 2019


  • Toby Treves is an independent art historian and a former Collections Curator of 20th Century British Art at Tate. He was the lead curator of the exhibition Soaring Flight: Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings held at the Courtauld Gallery in 2015–16.


  • The catalogue raisonné is also available from the following bookshops:

    John Sandoe Books
    10 Blacklands Terrace
    London SW3 2SR

    Thomas Heneage Art Books
    42 Duke Street St James’s
    London SW1Y 6DJ

    Heywood Hill
    10 Curzon Street
    London W1J 5HH

    Gallery Bookshop
    9 North Pallant
    Chichester PO19 1TJ

    White Horse Bookshop
    136 High Street
    Marlborough SN8 1HN

    Hatchards Piccadilly
    187 Piccadilly
    London W1J 9LE

    Marcus Campbell Art Books
    43 Holland Street
    London SE1 9JR

    And in Cornwall, only from:

    Barton Books
    45 Causewayhead
    Penzance TR18 2SS


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