Bay Landscape, St Ives, Cornwall

Sea/landscape. Expanse of blue/green from right margin towards left side of canvas. Shoreline curves from centre lower margin to left. Dark ochre element extends into blue, dividing sea from hills. Suggestion of architectural structures at shore end of pier. White brush strokes make a jagged line on land, upper left.

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

LL brush point Scales (barely legible)

Verso (not in artist's hand) Bay landscape, St Ives, Cornwall 245 x 330mm c1968/70 Helen F V Scales NAG gallery label

Credit Line

Purchased by National Art Gallery, Wellington, from Auckland City Art Gallery exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976

Copyright Licence
Courtesy Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand, Registration no. 1976-0022-1, https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/42378
Current Collection

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Current Location

Wellington, New Zealand

General notes

Title and date supplied by the artist for Auckland City Art Gallery exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976. Listed as artwork no. 26 in this exhibition.

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

This is one of a series of paintings based on the location of the Pedn-Olva Hotel on Porthminster Beach. 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 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. 

After the death of her mother 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." 

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.

Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, in conversation with B. de Lange, 03.05.2019, “… she was a Modernist with conviction.”

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