Jessica Heath


(Mrs) Jessica Heath (1883-1967)

Jessica Doherty was born in Bandon, County Cork and, in 1908, her father, who had been Agent to Lord Bandon's Irish estates, decided to retire to Newlyn, buying 'La Pietra' on Paul Hill. Jessica, who was keen to learn painting, enrolled at the Forbes School in 1908/9. She soon met Frank Heath, an artist who had settled locally after studying earlier at the School, and they were married in 1910. They settled initially in Polperro and had already had two children by the time Jessica's father paid for them to build their own home, 'Menwinnion', at Lamorna in 1912. Two more children followed and then Frank was seriously gassed in the War and never fully recovered his health. With heavy family commitments, Jessica had little time for painting but, working mainly in oils, she enjoyed depicting the local Cornish coast while the family swam or played on the rocks. Following Frank's death in 1936, she moved to Frampton in Dorset before returning to Bandon, County Cork in 1942.

(Abridged extract from David Tovey, Creating A Splash : The St Ives Society of Artists (1927-1952), Wilson Books, 2004)

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