St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion

St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre holds a fascinating tale. St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion

What links Cornish beer, the Spanish Armada, a German artist, pub signs, a grade II listed building, Fowey with Munich and London, not forgetting Wales?

Not the impressive beer, not the coffee or delicious food but an intriguing story of a great example of overlooked public art: the pub sign and an amazing set of links.

Not sure this is a St Austell Brewery pub – but a good example of a striking image

St Austell Brewery rightly prides itself on its pubs’ signage, the artwork enticing patrons to come on in and enjoy.

So with that in mind it is amazing what tales you can find opening up sitting quietly in a corner of such an outfit.

What caught my attention was the name of Hans Feibusch and the Ship Inn Fowey Cornwall.

The ‘Old Lady of Fowey’ according to English Heritage was built around 1400 as a merchant’s house.

In 1570 it was an inn run by John Rashleigh (1554 – 1624), a prominent family of Fowey.

Information from the Ship Inn’s website informs us that John Rashleigh was the son of Philip Rashleigh who was one of Queen Elizabeth’s infamous privateers and brought fortune to Fowey primarily to the detriment of the Spanish.

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion

John Rashleigh sailed his ship ‘The Frances of Fowey’ to the Americas, accompanied by his cousins Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh.

Sir Francis Drake
Sir Walter Raleigh

In July 1588, he left Fowey harbour to play his part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada, returning triumphant to become MP in 1589 and 1597.

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion

What has this to do with the St Austell Brewery and Hans Feibusch?

Outside on the wall of the inn there is a mural. It is a work by Hans Feibusch of John Rashleigh.

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion

There’s the link. But who was Hans Feibusch?

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion
Hans Feibusch 1898-1998

Born in Frankfurt am Main Hans was German Jewish soldier in WWI and served on the Russian Front following which he trained as an artist in Munich.

In 1933, with the rise of the Nazis, Hans emigrated to England.

It is interesting to note that his work was subsequently defined as ‘degenerate’ because of his Jewishness and was displayed at the 1937 Entartete Kunst (“Degenerate Art”) exhibition.

Adoration of the shepherds
St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion
St John’s Church Waterloo

Feibusch joined the London Group of Artists in 1934.

He swore an oath of allegiance to the British Crown in 1940 and first exhibited work at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in 1944.

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion
Pilgrims’ Progress

After the war, he became known for his church murals. He converted to Christianity and was baptized and confirmed into the Church of England in 1965.

Feibusch’s works, particularly murals can be found in churches and civic buildings all over England and Wales, and Sir Bertram Clough Williams Ellis’ Portmeirion in Wales.

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion
St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion

And thus we have a remarkable chain of links: Fowey, Frankfurt, Munich, America, The Armada, Drake and Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth 1st, St Austell, Portmeirion and many other sites in England.

St Austell Cornwall Portmeirion