Alfred Wallis Artist & Mariner

Expanded fourth edition by artist and author Robert Jones

Original insights into the sources of Wallis’s imagery and research into his seagoing days and life in St Ives, with a foreword by art historian Jovan Nicholson.

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Further information about Alfred Wallis Artist & Mariner


  • High quality hard-cover 256 page production.
  • Over 260 illustrations.of paintings and period photographs.
  • Includes images of paintings from public collections and little-known paintings from private collections.
  • Original interpretation of the sources of Wallis’s imagery drawn from the Cornish landscape and coast; from ports he knew and events he had witnessed.
  • An understanding of merchant shipping and the Cornish fishing industry of the period.
  • The author questions the perceived view of Wallis and gives a fresh insight into the artist’s character through correspondence and transcriptions from recorded memories of people who knew Wallis.

Brigs and brigantines, schooners, luggers and ketches – these are the characters that people the paintings of Alfred Wallis. This enthralling book by the Cornish painter Robert Jones unlocks the private world of Wallis, who started making art, ‘for company’, after the death of his wife

Jenny Pery

“It is hugely important to have a book like yours, carefully researched, with a consistent theme: linking the artist’s experience to his work, told with enthusiasm, deep knowledge & giving a consistently well informed but balanced view. Whenever anyone has mentioned Wallis to me, I have always referred them to your book & this one will now become the definitive study.

Your book, calm, thoughtful, considered but enthusiastic with sources provided for your theme, is such a refreshing change. I loved all the new info & the many beautiful photographs documenting the origins of Alfred’s work.”

John McWilliams, September 2018

“When so little was previously known about Alfred Wallis, both his life and creativity, Robert Jones’s book is essential reading for anyone who cares deeply about this highly original artist who led such a fascinating and tragic life. This book about Alfred Wallis is a testament to Robert Jones’s dedication and persistence. It is a singular achievement.”

Jovan, Nicholson 2018

This new, revised and much enlarged edition of ’Alfred Wallis Artist and Mariner’ describes Wallis’s early life in Devonport and shows how visually rich memories of this period found their way into his paintings sixty years later.

The book documents his move to Penzance and his marriage to Susan Ward three weeks before Wallis crossed the Atlantic as a seaman in the schooner Pride of the West. Through historic ships articles the author presents conclusive proof of his seagoing days and shows how events Wallis witnessed during these voyages were later recorded in his paintings.

The book describes Alfred and Susan Wallis’s move from Penzance in the 1880s where, for thirty years, they successfully ran The Marine Stores on the Wharf in St Ives, and earned Wallis the nickname ‘Old Iron’.

The author tells the story of Wallis starting to paint following the death of his wife and recounts the discovery of his work by Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood and examines the direct link from Wallis’s work to the abstract art of the St Ives Modernist movement that was to follow.

Robert Jones reevaluates the distorted view of Wallis that was perpetuated after his death and describes the effect of the recent proliferation of forgeries of Wallis’s work.

The book contains previously unpublished images from the sketchbooks that Wallis filled with drawings during the last months of his life in Madron Public Assistance Institute.

Further insights into Wallis’s personality are revealed by previously unpublished letters. The book contains transcriptions of conversations between the author and people who knew and remembered Alfred Wallis in St Ives, and features many recordings made and transcribed by St Ives G.P. Dr Roger Slack.

Click here for a review of the second edition.

We are looking for people to review the current (fourth) edition – please get in touch if you would like to know more.

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Signed copies available from the author.

Also available from selected outlets.

Hard Cover

Kettle’s Yard

Alfred Wallis Artist and Mariner

Watch Online


Kettle's Yard

Robert Jones in conversation with Eliza Spindel. Kettle’s Yard 16 June 2021 and Alfred Wallis Rediscovered

Alfred Wallis Artist & Mariner Book Stockists

Tate St Ives

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Penwith Gallery

Back Road West, St Ives

St Ives Bookseller

2 Fore Street, St Ives

Falmouth Art Gallery

The Moor, Falmouth. TR11 2RT


Barton Books

45 Causeway Head, Penzance

Penlee House Gallery & Museum

Morrab Road, Penzance

Edge Of The World Bookshop

Market Jew St, Penzance


Burton Art Gallery


Kettle’s Yard

University of Cambridge


Jerwood Gallery



The British Library
National Library of Scotland
The Bodleian Library Oxford University
National Library of Wales
Cambridge University Library
The Library of Trinity College Dublin
Cornwall Council Library
Falmouth University Library