Barns-Graham painted Island Sheds
the same year she moved to St Ives from Scotland. She took a studio in Porthmeor, overlooking a promontory known as The Island. The primitive style recalls the paintings of Alfred Wallis, a retired fisherman whose naïve paintings were a key influence on the St Ives group of artists.
Island Sheds, St Ives No. 1
Date of work
Oil paint on plywood 33 x 40.5 cm ©Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust
Born in St Andrews, Scotland, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham moved to St Ives in 1940, where she became an influential figure in the group of modernist artists based in the town. Her paintings fused abstraction with representational imagery, often inspired by the dramatic Cornish landscapes and other places she visited. She was concerned with capturing the emotion of a place; of describing not just the formal qualities of landscape but the feelings evoked. From the 1960s, her work became markedly abstract, defined by strong geometric forms and a powerful dynamism. Later paintings were freer and more expressionistic.