From Beach Road, St Ives, Cornwall
Landscape. Centre left dominant white shape with five dark blue, black and ochre vertical marks slightly tilted to left and right. Mid right area of blue. Left margin dark mass of roughly triangular shape tilted to left. Lower left margin blue green area. Lower right margin ochre wedge shape.
LL fine black brush point F Scales 19
LL green brush point Scales
Verso red biro (not in artist’s hand) From Beach Road, St Ives, Cornwall, 275 x 350mm 21 or 22 1969 Flora Scales
Purchased by M. T. Woollaston from Peter McLeavey Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, July 1976, when it toured there from the Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand, exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976
Gifted to Mrs Faye Hill, bequeathed to Ms Tameara Hill
Private sale, Auckland, New Zealand, January 2020
Evidence of rubbed back paint exposing canvas weave and ground layer. Two parallel lines in ochre area at left appears to be paint loss caused from an adhesive tape.
Title and date supplied by the artist for Auckland City Art Gallery, New Zealand, exhibition, Helen F V Scales, 1975-1976. Listed as artwork no. 22 in this exhibition.
Conservator’s report, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand, February 2020, “The paint layer has a sketch like quality, with rubbing back of the paint layer, exposing the canvas weave and ground layer. The majority of this appears intentional, however the area around the signature has been rubbed back to partially erase the signature in black. When viewed under magnification it is apparent the green signature is applied over the black. This suggests the black pigmented signature is earlier. It has been partially rubbed off and the green signature applied over. It is unclear when this was done.”
In answer to questionnaire sent by B. de Lange 1983, original owner wrote, “A very genuine piece of work. A painting very much from within herself. A very private painting which exposes her inner self.”
G. de Lange, on viewing this painting 01.08.2020 wrote, "I was mesmerised by the Flora Scales. The black and white columns in her beautiful mist."
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 was probably painted from Wharf Road, St Ives, Cornwall, England, giving an eastern view of the Pedn-Olva Hotel.
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.
Photos by Sam Hartnett