The Digital Museum of
late 1960s to early 1970s
Sinclair Swan was born 1919 in Glasgow Scotland and died in 2005 in Penzance.
He went to sea as a teenager with the Clan Line and got his second mates ticket and transferred to the Royal Navy Reserve from which he was invalided out - later going to sea again on a Thames sailing barge and a trawler. He then went to Glasgow School of Art and at Arbroath and then spent four years in London painting and was for a time assistant to James Gunn.
In the late forties he came to Cornwall and married Elizabeth Lane an accomplished painter in her own right. It was at this time that he met the author Denys Val Baker whose series of autobiographical books he was to illustrate and design covers for and a time too when he studied pottery with Bernard and Michael Leach - a learning period which eventually enabled him and Elizabeth to set up the Castle-an-Dinas Pottery near Nancledra. The pottery prospered for seven years until the eary seventies when he returned to Scotland to Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae where he and Elizabeth introduced "the Leach Pot" to people north of the border. They stayed there for almost thirty years before the call of Cornwall became so insistent that they had to come back and soon Donald had major solo shows of his paintings - first at the Penlee House Gallery and then at the Rainyday Gallery in Penzance.
Donald's particular strengths as a painter were maritime subjects (in 1969 he had a year long show on the 'Cutty Sark'), landscapes and especially portraits of his growing family.
Thanks to Frank Ruhrmund of the Cornishman for the above information and to Martin Val Baker of the Rainyday Gallery.