Local artist Joshua Barrett has re-imagined photographs from Cornwall’s history in glorious colour to bring them back to life and add a new dimension to images that had previously only been seen in black and white.

Cornwall Council’s Archives and Cornish Studies Service have launched their new exhibition Cornwall in Colour at the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth.

The exhibition, which is free to visit and runs until April 14, includes six images that have been colourised and brought to life for the very first time by local colouriser Joshua.

“We have been blown away by the images that Joshua has colourised," said Chloe Phillis, leading lead for the Archives and Cornish Studies Service. "These photographs are moments in time that connect to wider events, themes and issues and introducing colour back into these photographs really seems to breathe life back into them, and helps bridge the gap between the present and the past.”

The exhibition also features a range of postcards, books and images from the service’s archives which is home to hundreds of thousands of images – many of them are original glass negatives – of Cornwall in the past.

The images which have been colourised were chosen both for their quality, and for the story they tell. Images include a 1940s' RAF inspection, farming in Bodmin, a copper-clad early 20th century diver and this picture from May Day in Padstow in 1944 featuring American GIs greeting the ‘Oss.

Joshua said: “It has been a real pleasure working on this project and a real privilege to produce something which will enrich Cornwall's already fantastic cultural heritage. I hope the colourisation will help people view the past in a different light and help generations, both young and old, to engage with history in a far more emotional way.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the fascinating process of colourising historic photographs then Joshua is giving a free talk at the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth at 2pm on Tuesday, March 20. Booking for the talk is highly recommended, call 01209 216760 to arrange.