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End of an era – start of a new one?


2017 was the year of Tom Henderson Smith’s final Lafrowda Festival Benefit Painting Auction. His reason for this was the founding of a new tradition here in St Columb Major  and he wished to support it in a similar way. More than three years after his move to St Columb from St Just, home of the Lafrowda Festival, Tom and his partner Gabrielle Hawkes with a group of friends launched the Our Town St Columb Major Arts and Heritage Project ( ) This was to become an annual Arts and Heritage Festival, the aim being to support cultural regeneration in this central Cornish community. The project’s first festival took place in August 2017.

This means that the metre square Mad Aviators at Lafrowda ( ) painting that Tom made following the inspiration of the July 2016 event in St Just would, as he saw it, very probably be the last of that series. Starting in 2002, there were fourteen of these Lafrowda canvases emerging from Tom’s studio. You can see them all in the collection of ‘thumbnail’ picture links below the ‘virtual tour’ on the Ten Years of Lafrowda Paintings page of the website  ( ).

That virtual tour itself records the exhibition that the Lafrowda Festival organisers asked him to put on at Cape Cornwall School in St Just in 2012. He subsequently added four more to the collection and each July since his move in 2013 saw Tom and Gabrielle back in St Just to soak up the excitement of Lafrowda once again.He was delighted that other artists still based in St Just started to do something similar for Lafrowda and he fervently wished that the tradition of supporting that festival would long continue in this way without him. Incidentally, prints of all those earlier Lafrowda paintings can be purchased by following relevant links on their image pages on Tom’s website.