[View of Boarding House]

Sea/landscape view from above and from the west. A tilted block of ochre and terracotta at left margin. Right hand margin large, dark mass. Central pale shape with grey trapezoid above. Predominantly blue area above. Upper canvas sand, green and blue colours.

Other title(s)
Cornwall before the War
c. 1966 1969
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas on board
Place Made
St Ives, Cornwall, England

LL yellow ochre brush point les (signature partially illegible)


Purchased by original owner from private exhibition at the home of Mrs Joan Williams, Havelock North, New Zealand, 1974

Subsequently gifted to artists niece, Patience Tennent

General notes

Alternative title, Cornwall before the War, taken from the exhibition Flora Scales at The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson, New Zealand, 2018.

Dated according to other renderings of this subject.

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.

This painting shows the results of much reworking and re-evaluation of the subject. The immediacy and vigour of the gestures and brush work allows the viewer an insight into the mind and feelings of an artist in complete control of her medium.

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. 

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