Art: An afternoon in - The Tate, St Ives

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The Independent Culture
In high summer, the Tate St Ives feels a bit like an extension of Porthmeor beach as the sound of gulls and surf and, above all, tourists echoes up and through the building. It may not be the best place to look at pictures, but there's a friendly, informal quality which most museums lack. By this time of year the crowds and caravans have gone and both town and gallery are settling down for winter, which makes it by far the best time to visit. The collection is ever changing, as loans with a Cornish flavour come and go from the Tate in London, but you can always be sure to see good work by Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and especially Alfred Wallis - the old fisherman who became an accidental pioneer of modern painting in St Ives. Don't miss the view from the roof terrace over the town - one of the best that I know and one which makes total sense of the way that Wallis depicted the higgledy-piggledy streets.

Porthmeor beach, St Ives, Cornwall (01736 796543)