The library is lucky to hold archives of work by the Cornish artist and illustrator Hilda Quick.
Quick was born in Penzance in 1895 and trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, later specialising in wood engravings. Locally, she created designs for the Minack Theatre programmes, working directly with Rowena Cade (founder of the Minack). She also illustrated numerous books including her own — Marsh and Shore, about bird-watching on the Cornish coast, which became a bestseller.
She lived in Penzance until the death of her parents in 1951, after which she moved to St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly, remaining there for the rest of her life and continuing to produce work until her death at the age of 83 in 1978.
During her long career Quick produced numerous studies of the local community in Penzance and Newlyn, including these rather wry and playful sketches. They were made during the second world war and give an insight into the everyday lives of people in Penzance during that time – from the desperate and dutiful queues at the local fishmongers and chaos at the food office in St John’s Hall, to Penzance’s exasperated ‘chief billing officer’ pulling at his hair.
VE day commemorates the beginning of peace in Europe, a peace that must have been felt in a thousand little ways across the country, from our own land’s end to the highlands. It celebrates the peace that started the long and complicated process of healing for many countries. Hilda Quick’s drawings capture a time that is past but VE day reminds us that the value of peace, and working together, is ever-present.