- Alfred Wallis 1855–1942
- Oil paint and graphite on paper
- Support: 302 × 591 mm
- Bequeathed by Mrs Doris Sealy 1975
T01967 TWO-MASTED SHIP c.1928
Household paint on paper, 12×23 1/4 (20.4×59)
Bequeathed by Mrs Doris Sealy 1975
In a letter of 3 August 1970 to the Director of the Tate Gallery, Mrs Colin Sealy stated that these four paintings depicting fishing vessels off the Cornish coast were all ‘early works bought by my late husband off Wallis in 1928 and they have never been seen or shown’. She added ‘They are not the best Wallises I've seen. Kit Wood and Ben Nicholson discovered him a few days before my husband so that he (Wallis) had not got very many left’.
The following entries-on T01967, T01968, T01969, T01970-were compiled with the assistance of the National Maritime Museum, Miss Margaret Mellis, Terry Frost and Denis Mitchell.
The two-masted ship is a brigantine, a great number of which were engaged in the fruit trade from the Azores to the Mediterranean, the Newfoundland dried fish trade, and the general deepwater and coastal trades from the latter half of the 19th century until 1920. Together with the schooner they formed the bulk of Britain's small merchant sailing vessels at this time and would naturally feature in Wallis's memories of his seafaring days. The lighthouse is probably the Eddystone, off Plymouth.
Wallis's picture is painted on the reverse of a G. W. R. cheap fare schedule for 1928. Inspection of the work revealed, attached to the backing, a chalk drawing of a nude signed ‘Colin Sealy '28’. Margaret Mellis comments: ‘People often paid Wallis with old exercise books, bits of board, cardboard, and occasionally old canvases. Then Wallis painted on the back-or sometimes on the front’.
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978