Reg Watkiss

Reg Watkiss (British, 1934-2010)

Reg Watkiss was born in London, and for more than 50 years played a major role in the West Cornwall arts scene as not only a painter but outstandingly as a photographer and an author. Painting and photography were his subjects from the start when he began studying at the Walthamstow School of Art. From there with a scholarship to the Royal Academy schools, he twice while there won the David Murrary Landscape Travelling Prize.

He arrived in West Cornwall at the completion of his studies, and in 1958 married his wife Gill Watkiss, also an accomplished painter. They stayed in Cornwall throughout their married life, bringing up their family in Penzance. Reg also taught and lectured on photography and art in Penzance schools and at the Mid Cornwall College, St Austell.  Meantime, he began to collect and created a large photographic archive about Cornwall with everything from etchings, prints, glass slides and photographs, as well as films. The skill with photography led to an interest in film-making, and he engaged in the production of some short films which have added to his archive, and have been employed in exhibitions and museums around the country, along with his drawings and paintings.

In the 1970s he published two books of early photographs of the Land’s End peninsula, Penzance and Newlyn. A third book of archived photographs, Lost Cornwall, was published in 2004, followed in 2006 by his final book, Reflections of Old Cornwall.