Alfred Wallis’s paintings are respected as the foremost example of naïve art in St Ives. In his works, perspective is ignored, and an object's scale is often based on its relative importance in the scene, giving many of his paintings a map-like quality. Wallis painted seascapes from memory, in large part because the world of sail he knew was being replaced by steamships.
CV Alfred Wallis was born in 1855. He apprenticed to a basket maker before becoming a mariner in the merchant service. He moved to St. Ives in 1880 and set up his business as a marine stores dealer. It was after the death of his wife in 1922 that Wallis took up painting. His art became a prolific example of the naive style, and it was only a few years after he started painting that Ben Nicholson and Kit Wood discovered his work. Wallis was propelled into a circle of some of the most progressive artists working in Britain in the 1930s. The influence, however, was all one way; Wallis continued to paint as he always had and died a pauper in Madron Workhouse in 1942.