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Traditionally, this has been seen as a portrait of Wood’s friends Ben and Winifred Nicholson with their first child. They are shown against the backdrop of the harbour of St. Ives, then a fishing village and an established artists colony. It was painted the year in which Wood and Ben first met Alfred Wallis, the untutored painter whose instinctive style endorsed their own consciously ‘naïve’ mode of painting. To cast Nicholson in the role of fisherman was to invest him with the sort of rooted authenticity to which they aspired in their painting.

July 2007