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Alfred Wallis

Born 1855 – Died 1942

Wallis was born in Devon. He worked as a fisherman and later a scrap-metal merchant in St. Ives. After the death of his wife in 1922, he turned to painting as a way of fending off loneliness. 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.

Photo: © Kettle's Yard



Brigantine sailing past green fields, undated

Alfred Wallis

Brigantine sailing past green fields Find out more


Mount's Bay with four lighthouses, undated

Alfred Wallis

Mount's Bay with four lighthouses Find out more


Sailing ship against a sandy beach, undated

Alfred Wallis

Sailing ship against a sandy beach Find out more


Motor vessel mounting a wave, undated

Alfred Wallis

Motor vessel mounting a wave Find out more

Alfred Wallis Sketchbooks

Experience three sketchbooks made by Alfred Wallis in the final year of his life in this film. Watch the pages turn to reveal works by Wallis that are rarely seen by the public. These three sketchbooks were the catalyst for our exhibition ‘Alfred Wallis Rediscovered’.

In the sketchbooks you can see some of the artist’s favourite subjects including the Royal Albert Bridge in Devonport, St Ives Harbour and its lighthouse and three mastered tall ships and steamers with smoke billowing.

The sketchbooks were acquired by Kettle’s Yard and Tate in 2020 with funds provided by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Tate Members and Friends of Kettle’s Yard, and with Art Fund support.

Alfred Wallis Rediscovered

Alfred Wallis Rediscovered was an exhibition of the work of Alfred Wallis at Kettle’s Yard in 2020 – 2021. The exhibition shined new light on this innovative artist whose contribution to the development of modern art in Britain deserves closer attention. Below are some films relating to the exhibition.

Find out more about the exhibition here

Discover Alfred Wallis with Tate

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