Bryan Pearce was the subject of a significant retrospective at Tate St Ives in 2007. Pearce, who passed away last year, portrayed his hometown St Ives with a unique clarity.
Fruit and Bird Plate was painted in 1967 when Pearce and his family moved from Market Place, St Ives to Piazza flat, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives. Pearce started painting in 1952. By 1967 he had already had seven one-man exhibitions under his belt and one retrospective at the Penwith Gallery. The present work portrays Pearce's extreme simplicity of colour and form which contrasts with the detailed treatment of the stonework and bird plate. In common with the modern Cornish school of painters the still-life was important to him. Pearce was far from prolific and always worked very slowly, producing perhaps twelve oil paintings a year. Often compared to Alfred Wallis, the late Peter Lanyon said of him: ''Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his painting is original''(Exhibition catalogue, Bryan Pearce, Penzance, Newyln Gallery, 1959, foreword by Peter Lanyon).