Cundall, Charles

(1890 – 1971)

Falmouth Harbour from the Town Quay, 1940


SKU: 10618


Oil on canvas

Height: 56cm
Width: 84cm

1 in stock


John Turner, Esq. (by c.1965)

Exhibited: Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, 1940, (393)

Cundall’s wartime view shows the dock at Falmouth with Falmouth Harbour beyond. Royal Navy ships – some with Dazzle Camouflage are shown at anchor, most likely  having taken troops and and refugees from the ports of Brittany. Falmouth was a principal destination for the ships that evacuated western France. Whilst Dunkirk (to Dover) is more commonly recalled the evacuation of Western France, though equally significant, has been rather forgotten. The painting also includes a three-funnelled ship which is likely to be a French destroyer.

Aerial view of Falmouth Harbour

In July 1940, the WAAC offered Cundall a salaried six-month contract with the Admiralty, focusing on the work of the Merchant Navy:a timely subject that had been urged on the Admiralty by the Chamber of Shipping the previous spring.

Cundall’s view of Falmouth Harbour from the Town Quay, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1940, was one of his very first War paintings. Over 30 major oils by Cundall from the WW2 period are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum.  

In 1941, after a brief lull following the end of his Admiralty employment early in the year, he was transferred to the Air Ministry, where he remained until 1945.  Muirhead Bone wrote the catalogue Forward for one of Cundall’s exhibitions in 1927 praising him as a ‚Äúdetached observer we feel we can trust‚Äù.

The National Maritime Museum have a related painting from 1940 entitled Battleships at Falmouth.

We are grateful to Ian Jack for assistance.

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Cundall, Charles

1890 – 1971

Painter, potter and stained glass artist, born in Stratford, Lancashire. After working as a designer for Pilkington’s Pottery Company under Gordon Forsyth, Cundall studied at Manchester School of Art, obtaining a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, 1912. After World War I army service he returned to the Royal College in 1918, then from 1919 to 1920 attended the Slade, and furthered his studies in Paris. Cundall traveled widely in several continents and became noted for his panoramic pictures, such as Bank Holiday Brighton, in the Tate Gallery (accession no. NO4700). He was a member of NEAC, RP, RWS and other bodies and was a prolific RA exhibitor. He had first solo show at Colnaghi 1927. He was an Official War Artist in World War II, during which time he was sent to Quebec (1944). In the same year he was elected RA. His wife was the artist Jacqueline Pietersen.

His technical facility – especially when working on large panoramic canvases – was remarkable. His pictures are rich with texture, light and movement. He was equally at ease with aerial views, landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes, and was a master of crowd scenes. His work as an Official War Artist has never received the attention it merits.


Charles Cundall
Falmouth Harbour from the Town Quay, 1940
Charles Cundall
Dieppe with Figures on the Quayside and Boats Moored, circa 1930
Charles Cundall
The British Railways Carry On, 1941
Charles Cundall
Pont Saint-Michel
Charles Cundall
H.M.S. Cyclops, Portsmouth
Charles Cundall
Sketch for Stourport Power Station, 1956
Charles Cundall
Study for the Central Cricket & Recreation Ground, Hastings, c.1952
Charles Cundall
Study for Excavation in Park Lane, early 1960s
Charles Cundall
Seine Bookstalls & Fishermen
Charles Cundall
Study for Hipper at Kiel, c.1945
Charles Cundall
Calm in the Baltic, 1935
Charles Cundall
Study for Laying the Commemoration Stones of the new Minicipal BuildingsBristol, 1939
Charles Cundall
Approaching the Bridge, 1935
Charles Cundall
Tuilleries Gardens, 1955
Charles Cundall
Lockheed Hudson, c.1942
Charles Cundall
Study for Coastal Operational Training Unit (Limavady, Northern Ireland), circa 1942