Boarding House, St Ives, Cornwall


Sea/landscape. Elevated viewpoint. Central pale mass surrounded by earthy colours, relieved at left with pale colours which are incorporated into bands of paler hues top half of canvas.

1968 1970
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas
Place Made
St Ives, Cornwall, England

LL blue brush point SCAL (incomplete signature)

LR ochre brush point H Sc (signature partially illegible)

Verso upper centre framers label Picture Framing by Nevill Studios Ltd., 480 Moray Place, Dunedin PHONE 477-7080

Verso mid centre stain remains from removed sticky label

Verso LL circular yellow sticker 1968-70 12 15 (12 crossed out) (since reframed)


Purchased by Professor and Mrs Wood from the Auckland City Art Gallery exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976, when it toured to the Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, July 1976

General notes

Title and date supplied by artist for Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand, exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976. Listed as artwork no. 16 in this exhibition. The work has been re-framed since this exhibition at which time the verso circular yellow sticker was replaced on the new backing board.

This is one of a series of paintings based on the location of the Pedn-Olva Hotel on Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, England. Pedn-Olva means 'lookout on the headland'. The hotel is a registered navigational mark for ships which perhaps added to its attraction as a subject for Scales, with her lifelong interest in boats, ships, piers and the sea.

The location of this work was identified by British artist, Patrick Heron, an artist-in-residence at the International Art Workshop, Teschemakers Resort, Kakanui, Oamaru, New Zealand, 9 February - 1 March 1991.

In her series of studies of this subject Scales may well have moved between a greater and lesser degree of abstraction making it difficult to determine in which order they were painted.

Diana Mills, Flora Scales’s great niece, in a letter to B. de Lange, 12.11.1983, “I visited her there in a sparsely furnished house on the side of a hill. It was jolly cold and the wind was prevented from making life completely miserable only by thick red velvet curtains. Heavy as they were they still blew at an angle into the room...I was appalled by the lack of comfort with which she lived her life.”

After the death of her mother in 1948 Flora Scales moved to Cornwall, England. Flora Scales in conversation with Janet Paul, Rotorua, New Zealand, 27 March 1979, “I went to a horrible room in Mousehole, all yellow rocks. Not a good place for painting. Back to St Ives. I lived in a little hotel on the sea front at Penzance. Had a sale and then went back to St Ives. I used to pass Barbara Hepworth's studio and could hear her hammering. She was always hammering. I didn't like to disturb her and never went in." 

The 1950s saw the burgeoning of the St Ives School of artists in England which included Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Bryan Wynter and Bernard Leach. 

Letter to Ron O'Reilly from Toss Woollaston, Motueka, New Zealand, 15 July 1976, “Dear Ron, I have at last seen the Flora Scales show – at Peter's [Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand]. I enjoyed it very much…All those little pictures, getting so big and strong (most of them) while you look. So feelingly painted, while so theoretical, too…It made me wonder why after all we paint such big pictures these days, if all that can be done with small ones…” – Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters, ed. Jill Trevelyan, Te Papa Press, Wellington, New Zealand, 2004, pg 385

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