Alfred Wallis: Ships and Boats (2023)


ISBN: 9781904561408
Artist(s): Alfred Wallis
Author(s): Edited by Elizabeth Fisher and Andrew Nairne
Format: paperback
Year published: March 2023
Publisher: Kettle's Yard
Publisher Location: Cambridge
Total Pages: 104
Illustrations: Profusely illustrated

Artist(s) Biographies:

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Alfred Wallis (1855-1942) is one of the most original and inspiring British artists of the 20th Century. Promoted by the artist Ben Nicholson amongst others, Wallis’s paintings influenced the development of British art between the wars. The directness of Wallis’ vision reflected a lifetime of living by and from the sea. His paintings are of what he knew, remembered and imagined. Yet they are also timeless stories about survival and the nature of our relationship with the world. As Jim Ede commented “Wallis is never local.”

With over 70 illustrations, excerpts from letters and texts by Michael Bird, Ben Nicholson and Jim Ede, this book takes a fresh look at this extraordinary artist and his relationship to Kettle’s Yard. It includes some of Wallis’s best works from the Kettle’s Yard collection including many that are not normally on display, from ambitious paintings such as Saltash to what Wallis knew and loved best: ships and boats.

Kettle’s Yard, the University of Cambridge’s modern and contemporary art gallery, holds the largest public collection of works by Alfred Wallis. Wallis was born in Devon. He was a fisherman and later a scrap-metal merchant in St. Ives. He took up painting in his later years, following the death of his wife in 1922. He was admired by Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood, who came across his work when visiting St. Ives in 1928 and included it in the Seven & Five Society’s exhibition of 1929. He died in Madron Poorhouse.


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