Tuke and Turner rub shoulders with Feiler and Forbes
American author and poet Kate Chopin, once said: "The voice of the sea speaks to the soul."
It is a sentiment which echoes and re-echoes in the mind as one voyages from one gallery space to another through Tate St Ives' latest exhibition, Aquatopia.
From Ashley Bickerton's Orange Shark which greets the visitor at the entrance, to the splendid sea views seen from its windows, there is much to consider in this major presentation.
It has been curated by Alex Farquharson, director of Nottingham Contemporary, and Martin Clark, former artistic director of Tate St Ives and now director of Bergen Kunstalle. In their splendid, richly illustrated exhibition catalogue, they explain that the idea began life "in landlocked Nottingham" and is now being shown in "that most oceanic of galleries, on the edge of the Atlantic".
They hope it will have equal relevance in both places and while I can't speak for Nottingham, I can say that for St Ives it could hardly be more relevant and is one of the Tate's best yet.
Comprised of more than 200 art works from some 60 or so artists, among them is a strong local interest. Stanhope Forbes' A Fish Sale On A Cornish Beach, Dame Barbara Hepworth's Sea Form (Porthmeor), Henry Scott Tuke's Whale Blowing, Alfred Wallis' Whalers and Karl Weschke's Caliban are all here.
There is also Zenicon 1X by the late Paul Feiler, which, although not part of this touring exhibition, is included as a tribute to him.
There is more than enough here to please landlubbers and lovers of the sea alike.
Indeed, any exhibition which can also offer the opportunity to see such works as JMW Turner's Sunrise With Sea Monsters, Alan Davie's Image Of The Fish God, Lucien Freud's Fish God, Dorothy Cross's Relic, Gustave Dore's wood engraving illustrations for The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Katsushika Hokusai's Tako To Ama: Pearl Diver And Two Octupi, Oskar Kokoschka's The Crab, Marvin Gaye Chetywynd's Hokusai's Octopai(pictured) and any of the several samples of scrimshaw, installations and videos, has to be not only a special show but also one not to be missed.
Aquatopia: The Imaginary Of The Ocean Deep can be seen at Tate St Ives from 10am to 5.20pm daily until end of October and then from November 1 until January 26 2014 from 10am to 4.20pm, Tuesday to Sunday.