George Hainsworth’s response to the Alfred Wallis work : “Saltash Bridge”
I was first made aware of the work of Alfred Wallis when I was a student at Leeds College of Art in the late 1950’s. There was a link then between the College and artists who were Gregory Fellows at the University, and who were invited to be visiting tutors at the College. They were strongly connected to the St Ives art scene: Alan Davie, Terry Frost, Nibs Dalwood and Willy Barns-Graham and her husband David Lewis. Willy Barnes-Graham had a considerable collection of Alfred Wallis’ work and I, at this early stage in my career, was able to study it at close range. His work then (and does so now) influenced me in my own practice, for its joy in the making: its visual shock does not diminish on re-acquaintance. I like to think that he patently missed out on the Renaissance and made the “Saltash Bridge” via the enigma that is Palaeolithic Art. Through its freshness and its pared-down economy of expression and modesty of means he somehow enriches the world, as would a bunch of Spring flowers, or a rainbow in the sky.