Alfred Wallis was born on 18 August 1855. After leaving school Alfred became an apprentice to a basket maker before becoming a mariner in the merchant service. He sailed as a deep-sea fisherman on schooners across the North Atlantic between Penzance and
In 1890 Wallis, his wife and stepchildren moved to St. Ives,
Wallis only took up painting in 1922 as a comfort, after the death of his wife. He painted seascapes from memory. He never had much money and had to improvise using various materials, he mainly painting on cardboard ripped from packing boxes using limited paint supplies bought from ships' chandlers.
In 1928, Ben Nicholson and Kit Wood came to St Ives, where they established an artist colony. Wallis became part of the circle of some of the most progressive artists working in