Michael Finn (1921 - 2002)
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Diagonal Drift by Michael Finn
Diagonal Drift. 1984


Michael Finn was born in Addlestone, Surrey in 1921. Initially studied at Kingston Art School 1938-42 before joining the RAF to train as a pilot in Canada. In December 1943 Finn returned to the UK to marry his ex-fellow art student Cecily (Cely) Bailey. His WW2 service involved providing aerial support of troops advancing into Normandy and during the fighting at Arnhem. Leaving the RAF in 1946 Finn continued his studies at the Royal College of Art under Carel Weight R.A. Between 1949 - 58 he taught at Somerset College of Art, Taunton and exhibited at Royal West of England Academy, Bristol during the 1950s. Finn continued his teaching career as Principal of Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall between 1958 and 1972, building the reputation of the school and during which time he became friends with many of the St Ives artists, most notably Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Bryan Wynter, Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost and Denis Mitchell who became involved as visiting lecturers or governors. In 1972 Finn was appointed Principal of the Bath Academy of Art at Corsham where he remained until 1982 when he retired from art education and moved to St. Just, near Land's End, with Cely to begin to paint full time. In the same year Finn was elected member of Newlyn Society of Artists and Penwith Society of Arts.

Finn had his first solo exhibition in 1978 at the Festival Gallery in Bath (Paintings 1970-78) and from 1982 until his death in 2002 had many shows in mixed exhibitions at Newlyn, St Ives, London and elsewhere.


1950s Showed in annual exhibitions at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
1960s Showed regularly at Newlyn Art Gallery and with the Penwith Society in St Ives, and at
Plymouth City Art Gallery
1978 Festival Gallery, Bath (one-man exhibition)
1980s Mixed shows including Clarke Fine Art, Chiswick; Gordon Hepworth Gallery, Devon; Royal Albert
Memorial Museum, Exeter; Truro Cathedral; Newlyn Society of Artists at Newlyn Art Gallery and
Penwith Society, St Ives
1984-95 Wolf at The Door Gallery, Penzance
1987 Salthouse Gallery, St Ives ( one-man exhibition)
1988 Wolf at the Castle, Acton Castle, Penzance
1989 Newlyn Orion Gallery (one-man exhibition) with leaflet essay by John Halkes;
'A Century of Art in Cornwall', Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
1989-90 'New Icons', touring to Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, Usher Gallery, Lincoln,
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
1990 & 93 Wolf at the Door Gallery, Penzance (one-man exhibition)
1992 'Artists from Cornwall', Royal West of England Academy, Bristol
1992-93 'Peninsula Journeys', touring to Quicksilver Place Gallery, Middlesex University, London and
Lanchester Polytechnic Gallery, Coventry
1993 David Messum Fine Art, Cork Street, London (one-man exhibition)
1994 Showcase, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro (one-man exhibition)
1996 'Now and Then', David Messum Fine Art, Cork Street, London (one-man exhibition)
1996 Exhibition of works installed in Truro Cathedral
1997 Great Atlantic Mapworks Gallery, St Just (one-man exhibition)
1998 Falmouth Art Gallery
2000 Great Atlantic Map Works Gallery, St Just
2001 Newlyn Art Gallery, major exhibition of paintings (one-man exhibition)
2001 Falmouth Art Gallery, major exhibition of sculpture (one-man exhibition)
2001 Northern Light Gallery, Huddersfield. Joint exhibition with Jeremy Le Grice
2007 Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, 'Selected Paintings' (one-man exhibition)
2008 Messum's, Cork Street, London 'Modern Painters of West Cornwall'
2009 Truro Cathedral, 'Waiting on God', paintings and sculpture
2010 Lemon Street Gallery, Truro, 'A Life in Art: Paintings and Sculptures 1946-2002' (one-man exhibition)
2016 Katharine House Gallery, Marlborough, 'Michael Finn and Friends'


The Tate Gallery; Cornwall County Council Schools Collection; University College Falmouth; Blackfriars Oxford; Truro School Art Collection; Truro School Chapel; Church of Our Lady of the Portal, Truro; Truro Cathedral; Royal Cornwall Museum; Plymouth City Art Gallery; Falmouth Art Gallery. Private collections in UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland.