Penzance Orchestral Society

Norman Garstin (1847 – 1926)

The Rain it Raineth Every Day (1889) 

© Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance.


Norman Garstin (1847 – 1926)

Garstin was born in Ireland and was brought up by his grandparents.  He first set out to be an engineer, then an architect, and then sought his fortune prospecting for diamonds in South Africa in the company of Cecil Rhodes.

On return to Ireland, he decided on a career as an artist.  Although he started by painting in his spare time, by the late 1870s through the early 1880s he was studying in both Paris and Antwerp.

He arrived in Newlyn in 1886, moving to Penzance in 1889 where he finally settled, living at Wellington Terrace.  To supplement the sparse income from picture sales, he taught painting, his most notable students being Harold Harvey and his own daughter, Alethea Garstin, who became a notable painter in her own right.

His most famous work “The Rain it Raineth Every Day”, 1889, showing Penzance promenade on a rainy day.

The composition of this painting demonstrates Garstin’s admiration for Japanese art, which was influencing so many artists at this time, including Whistler, whose work Garstin also admired.  The title is taken from Shakespeare, where it is found in “Twelfth Night” and “King Lear”.

Norman Garstin’s eldest son, Crosbie (1887 – 1930), who was a well-known author, wrote poems which were set to music and performed by the Orchestral Society and Crosbie’s wife, Lilian Garstin (1896 – 1972), was Leader of the Orchestra from 1927 to 1946 and 1950 to 1972.

© 2007