The temporary closure for renovation of a high-profile Cambridge art gallery has given King’s Lynn Festival a rare opportunity to stage an exhibition of paintings by a much-admired artist and mariner.
Kettle’s Yard at the University of Cambridge has the largest collection of work by Alfred Wallis and a substantial number of his pictures will form this summer’s Lynn Festival exhibition in the Fermoy Gallery at Lynn Arts Centre on July 16-29.
Wallis was born in Devonport in 1855 and claimed to have gone to sea at the age of nine. He worked on vessels which sailed across the Atlantic.
He moved to St Ives in 1885 and took up painting late in life following the death of his wife in 1922.
He painted from memory his experiences, depicting the ships he had seen at sea, in harbour and wrecks as well as some houses and landscapes.
Jim Ede, the creator of Kettle’s Yard, began collecting Wallis’s paintings in the late 1920s having been introduced to the artist by British modernists Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood who held Wallis in high esteem.
Festival chairman Alison Croose said: “We are delighted that Kettle’s Yard at Cambridge University is so keen to give Lynn Festival this rare chance to feature Alfred Wallis’s work.
“With the support of an anonymous sponsor Lynn Festival will be staging an exhibition of great interest and with a most appropriate title for the Wash port – Ships and Boats.”
For more information and details of this year’s King’s Festival programme visit www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk/