Global promoter of county as art colony
AMERICAN-BORN champion of the arts Melissa Hardie, from Penzance, has been made an MBE.
The founder and director of the Hypatia Trust in Penzance, which catalogues and highlights women's achievements in all fields, is also a vocal champion of west Cornish art and artists.
Formally known as Dr Melissa Hardie-Budden, she was chairman of the council of Newlyn Art Gallery during its centennial year in 1995.
She was editor and publisher of the History Of Newlyn Art Gallery and editor of Art And Artists In West Cornwall 1880-1940.
That book led to the creation of the online Cornwall Artists Index which she now manages and updates, keeping a record of the biographies of more than 3,500 artists who have worked in Cornwall.
It receives queries from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Hong Kong.
Dr Hardie, 73, who lives in Newmill with husband Philip Budden, said: "I've had to keep it secret for three months and I've been itching to tell someone!
"Although I was born in America I took British nationality in the Seventies and I've always been pleased to be solely British, so I can receive a full MBE rather than an honorary one."
The MBE comes because she has promoted west Cornwall as "an art colony" around the world.
She said: "It's a pleasure because of the recognition, but also a pleasure because I came here in my twenties and I've now discovered I've got a huge number of Cornish and royal connections and it's my great pleasure to be among the people that I come from."