The painting is mounted on white-painted board, measuring 12¼ x 16¿ (31.1 x 41)· inscribed on the reverse by Ben Nicholson: ‘St Ives/by Alfred Wallis/(painted before Aug – 1928) – on first visit with Kit Wood –/ (&given to BN in [arrow here points back to “Aug. 1928”] by Wallis/belonging to Nicholson/Chyankerris/Carbis Bay/Cornwall’. Ben Nicholson has recorded in his memoir on ‘Alfred Wallis’ (Horizon, January 1943, pp. 50–54), that ‘In August 1928 I went over for the day to St. Ives with Kit Wood : this was an exciting day, for not only was it the first time I saw St. Ives, but on the way back from Porthmeor Beach we passed an open door in Back Road West and through it saw some paintings of ships and houses on odd pieces of paper and cardboard nailed up all over the wall, with particularly large nails through the smallest ones. We knocked on the door and inside found Wallis, and the paintings we got from him then were the first he made.’ Nicholson also records (loc. cit. p. 52) that ‘when looking at one of these paintings of houses into which he put so much affection... he said “Houses - houses – I don’t like houses – give me a ship and you can take all the houses in the world!”’.


  • Title: St Ives
  • Creator: Alfred Wallis
  • Date Created: c.1928
  • Provenance: Presented by Ben Nicholson 1966
  • Physical Dimensions: w384 x h257 mm
  • Original Title: St Ives
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Tate
  • Medium: Oil paint, graphite and crayon on cardboard

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