Alfred Wallis

ships and boats

Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth:

30th March 2013 - 8th September 2013

City Gallery, Vivacity Arts, Peterborough:

20 September - 17 November 2013

Alfred Wallis (1855 - 1942) is one of the most original and inspiring British artists of the 20th Century. Kettle’s Yard owns nearly 100 works by Alfred Wallis and for the first time a selection of works from Kettle's Yard are going on tour, so that others in the region can get to know these beautiful works.

Living in St. Ives, Cornwall and with no art training, Wallis took up painting late in life ‘for company‘ after the death of his wife. In the 1870’s he had been a ’mariner, merchant service‘ crossing the Atlantic and later working smaller fishing boats closer to shore. Using household and ship oil paint in a limited supply of colours on found bits of card, Wallis made works that are, as he said himself, more experiences and events than paintings. ‘i do most what used To Be what we shall never see no more’, he wrote to Jim Ede, the creator of Kettle’s Yard, and one of his most ardent collectors.

Promoted by the artist Ben Nicholson and others, Wallis’s paintings are often valued for their influence on the development of British art at a key moment, but they have a powerful expressive reality to them that is both deeply personal and enduring. When the artist Peter Lanyon asked him about a detail in one of his paintings, Wallis replied revealingly: ‘Mind your own business’. What shines out is Wallis’s exceptional natural talent. His paintings are of what he knew, remembered and imagined. They continue to speak movingly about how we relate to the world about us.

Links to the Venues

Time and Tide, Great Yarmouth 
City Gallery, Vivacity Arts, Peterborough


 Alfred Wallis, Letter to Jim Ede

Letter to Jim Ede (Kettle's Yard's founder)
from Alfred Wallis

alfred wallis
Feb 9 1934
Dear Sir
Receved your letter all Right with Thanks
very glad you are pleased with The paintins
i have got a few more
i will send Them on so you shall have Them in Time
They was not Dry
i have got 3 or 4 Big ones
They are Two Big to send By pos
i should like for you To see Them
i do most what used To Be
what we shall never see no more
avery Thing is altered
so i must Clos for The Time
with all good wishes
from your friend alfred wallis


Alfred Wallis, Brigantine sailing past green fields, n.d.


Alfred Wallis
Brigantine sailing past green fields, n.d.



Alfred Wallis: ships and boats
Alfred Wallis postcard set