Alfred Wallis

P.Z. 11

c.1928

Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Frame: 437 x 537 x 48 mm
support: 359 x 460 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Mrs Doris Sealy 1975
Reference
T01969

Display caption

Alfred Wallis was a seaman, ice cream seller and rag-and-bone man before he took up painting in old age. He said he painted ‘what used to be’ and many of his works depict a remembered past.In 1928 he met professional artists Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood, for whom Wallis’s work represented an instinctive and naïve folk art. As such, Wallis seemed to belong to the tradition of rustic characters common in literature, and represented a link to an apparently timeless English culture.

Gallery label, July 2007

Catalogue entry

T01969 PZ 11 c.1928

Inscribed ‘F (...) from Newlyn’ t.r.
Ship's oilpaint on plywood, 14 1/8×18 1/8 (35.9×46)
Bequeathed by Mrs Doris Sealy 1975

A Mounts Bay mackerel driver registered at the port of Penzance and here shown entering either Penzance or Newlyn harbour. The inscription is hard to decipher; the first part may be ‘Fishing Boat...’ or the ‘F’ may be the first letter of a boat's name.

The arrangement of the harbour, with the left hand pier or jetty forming an upright rectangle, b.r., is a good example of Wallis' imaginative re-arrangement of reality for compositional purposes.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978