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Duke’s to exhibit lost collection of Alfred Wallis works prior to auction.

The Emma Perkin Collection of Wallis works hidden away for half a century to feature in Duke's gallery before being auctioned in September.

The name Alfred Wallis is one of the most important in 20th century British art history. Much of Wallis’s life is uncertain, some have argued that he never went to sea, others have questioned his date of birth, but what is beyond doubt is that this poor, semi-literate scrap metal dealer and rag and bone man was an artist of such talent and originality that his chance discovery by Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood in 1928 changed the course of art history.

Duke’s of Dorchester are delighted to be showing eleven works from a recently discovered collection which boasts an impeccable provenance. Wallis took up painting in the latter part of his life, after his wife’s death, ‘for company’. He couldn’t afford artists’ materials, so used found pieces; the reverse of wooden signs, box lids, transport timetables, and less obvious surfaces, such as glass fishing floats, and tin boxes. For paint, he would take leftovers from shipbuilders, resulting in a palette of subdued, gentle and utilitarian greys, blues and whites. His lack of artistic training and his reliance on memory, created a landscape where proportion, perspective and physics are discarded in favour of a subjective focus.
According to family tradition, in Wallis’ old age he was cared for by a woman called Alice Lugg, whose niece, Emma Perkin, was a close neighbour of Wallis. They developed a friendship, with Wallis styling himself ‘Uncle Alfred’ and gifting the young Emma many of his works, including sketches on old card and cigarette packets, painted tin lids, painted glass fishing floats, painted objects and oil paintings on board. He would often inscribe them lovingly to Emma from Uncle Alfred.

Alfred Wallis
The ‘Emma Perkin’ collection first came to light some years ago, what makes the collection so special is that it has remained intact, undiscovered until her son, David, obtained it in 2006. The collection was contained in an old wooden trunk, which had been held for David by a family member in Falmouth since 1961.

The Emma Perkin Collection will be on display from Monday 18th July to Friday 29th July. A private view will be held on Tuesday 19th, from 6pm-8pm, and all are welcome. The Gallery is open Monday-Friday, 9am – 5.30pm. For all enquiries, please phone the saleroom on 01305 265080, or email



Welcome to the Dorchester Fine Art Salerooms, which are centrally located in the county town, close to the main Dorchester South railway station. 

Trains run hourly to London Waterloo (approximately 2 hours 30 minutes) and there are airports at Bournemouth and Exeter. The Saleroom is surrounded by an ample car park. If you require further information please contact the saleroom

Dorchester Fine Art Salerooms

Photography By Jonathan Gooding 


Forthcoming Fine Art Sales

Ceramics, Asian Art and Furniture

28th July 2016

28th and 29th July 2016

Thursday 28th July at 10.30am (lots 1-775)
Friday 29th July at 10.30am (lots 800-1151)

Including property removed from a Central London apartment, Glass, Ceramics, Asian and European Works of Art and Furniture

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Paintings and Drawings, Furniture and Works of Art

15th September 2016

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Avenue Auction

9th August 2016


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23rd August 2016

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Silver and Jewellery, Furniture and Works of Art

9th June 2016

This two day auction is held on 9th and 10th June 2016.   Thursday 9th June at 10.30am Lots 1-599 Friday 10th June at 10.30am Lots 900-1233

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Asian Art

20th May 2016

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Avenue Auction

19th July 2016

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Avenue Auction

28th June 2016

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Featured Lots

  • HELEN ALLINGHAM (1848-1926)

    HELEN ALLINGHAM (1848-1926) "In Gertrude Jekyll's Garden"

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  • WILLIAM HENRY HAMILTON TROOD (1848-1899) Hound puppies at play while other animals look on

    WILLIAM HENRY HAMILTON TROOD (1848-1899) Hound puppies at play while other animals look on

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  • DAME ELISABETH FRINK (1930-1993)

    DAME ELISABETH FRINK (1930-1993) "Small Male Figure, 1986"

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  • A FLEMISH WALNUT FIGURE OF THE VIRGIN, probably circa 1500,

    A FLEMISH WALNUT FIGURE OF THE VIRGIN, probably circa 1500,

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