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Alfred Wallis - Brigantine sailing past green fields, n.d. Painting, Reserve collection, Oil on card, 418 x 488 mm

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'Sailing ship and orchard' (c.1935-37) by Alfred Wallis (1855-1942). Oil on cardboard, 211 x 218 mm. via Fitzmuseum

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Alfred Wallis was a Cornish fisherman and artist. His parents, Charles and Jane Wallis were from Penzance in Cornwall and moved to Devonport, Devon to find work in 1850. Shortly after Jane Wallis died prompting the family to move back to Penzance. On leaving school Alfred was apprenticed to a basket maker before becoming a mariner in the merchant service by the early 1870s. He sailed on schooners across the North Atlantic between Penzance and Newfoundland.

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Alfred Wallis was a Cornish fisherman and artist. He painted his seascapes from memory, in large part because the world of sail he knew was being replaced by steamships. Having little money, Wallis improvised with materials, mostly painting on cardboard ripped from packing boxes, he also tore the cardboard to shapes that enhanced the shape of the paintings.

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