This work was painted from a drawing made in the summer of 1940, which is probably the squared pencil drawing of the same title that was sold at Christie’s on 14 May 1993.1 Ginner’s sister, Ruby Ginner Dyer, wrote to the Tate Gallery on 11 and 15 August 1957 that this painting
was a view from one of the windows of my house at Boscastle, called ‘St Corentin’ ... It was studied from my house in the summer of 1940. I remember his drawing it, and he painted it from the drawings when in London and his entry of 1941 meant that he finished it at the beginning of that year for the RA.2
Boscastle is on the north coast of Cornwall near the Devon border. The view is looking due north to High Cliff and Hartland Point. The drawing must have been made on a clear day, and shows the whole west-facing coast of Devon. The small patch of sea is bright blue, matching the intense and even tones of green, grey and brown. A watercolour by Ginner, Beeney Cliff, Boscastle,3 is a closer focus of the same view, tilted downwards slightly to include a large, walled kitchen garden in the foreground, which was probably his sister’s garden. Ginner first painted here in 1915 and continued to do so until 1947. Since he painted from drawings the dates of the paintings do not necessarily indicate exactly when he stayed there, but his notebooks list Boscastle pictures in 1915, 1919, 1922, 1935 and in 1941–3.4
Ginner exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1941, showing this painting and another, Watergate, Chester. He was elected an Associate Royal Academician in 1942. In the early years of the war he painted very little; his notebooks show that in 1941 he made only three paintings and one drawing. In 1941 or 1942 he moved to Standon in Hertfordshire to stay with the painter and collector Edward Le Bas after his London studio was damaged by bombing.
The painting is listed in the artist’s third notebook under the same title, and marked as ‘Sold The Chantrey Bequest £55.0.0’.5