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Nicholson, William

(1872 – 1949)

James Pryde, 1899

Signed with initials, dated 

Lithograph
7 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (19.7 x 14.6 cm)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private Collection

Reproduced in ‘The Beggerstaff Posters, 1990 (colour plate XII).

Literature; William Nicholson, The Graphic Work, Colin Campbell, Barrie & Jenkins, London 1992, number 90 page 198. 
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THE ARTIST

Nicholson, William

1872 – 1949

Sir William Nicholson (1872 – 1949) was an English painter, also known for his work as an illustrator and author of children’s books.
He was the son of William Newzam Nicholson, an industrialist and Conservative MP of Newark, and Annie Elizabeth, the daughter of Joseph Prior and Elizabeth (nee Mallam) of Woodstock, Oxon.
He was a student at Hubert von Herkomer’s art school. Nicholson’s partnership with James Pryde, his brother-in-law, was conspicuous for striking graphical work and woodcuts – they were known as the Beggarstaff Brothers, and their poster work was significant historically. He married Mabel Pryde (1871-1918), also an artist, in 1893.
After 1900 he concentrated on painting, encouraged by Whistler.
He was knighted in 1936. Ben Nicholson and Nancy Nicholson were his children; as was the architect Christopher ‘Kit’ Nicholson.
He was involved in illustrating early volumes from Robert Graves, with Nancy, who was Graves’ first wife. He wrote and illustrated characteristic children’s books: The Velveteen Rabbit (1922) by Margery Williams and his own Clever Bill (1926) and The Pirate Twins (1929) for Faber & Faber.
He also designed stained glass, notably a memorial window at St Andrew’s Church, Mells.

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