Private Held

Nicholson, Nancy

(1899 – 1977)

William Nicholson at Work, 1918

Gouache on card

Signed

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private Collection

Exhibited: Sanctuary, Artist-Gardeners, 1919-39, Garden Museum, London, 25th February ‚Äì 5 April, 2020

Literature: Christopher Woodward, Sanctuary: Artist-Gardeners, 1919‚Äì1939, published by Liss Llewellyn, 2020.

Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 13.

Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.332.

In his book Flower and Still Life Painting (1928), Charles Holme considered that William Nicholson’s popular
reputation is that of a flower-painter above all’ and that his work in this direction lies along the great line of
tradition’. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Nancy Nicholson has depicted her distinguished father, with
her characteristic humour, painting a still life of flowers in a vase, any hint of spontaneity negated by the
group of diminutive men on ladders carefully arranging the stems. In the corner, Nancy’s husband Robert
Graves, newly demobilized from the army, towers above the scene.

Of this work, the writer Candia McWilliam has commented, the language is satisfying in composition as one
would expect of a printmaker, effective on contextualising and subversive levels as one would expect of a
dedicated feminist, and richly, acutely seen, transmuting an apparent still life into a telling human dynamic’.

Nancy by William Nicholson,1912

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THE ARTIST

Nicholson, Nancy

1899 – 1977

Annie ‘Nancy’ Mary Pryde Nicholson was a painter and fabric
designer, and the only daughter of esteemed artists Sir William
Nicholson (1872’1949) and Mabel Pryde (1871’1918).

She married the poet Robert Graves in 1918, although the
relationship was not to last. She established Poulk Prints in 1929,
and after a period living with poet Geoffrey Taylor in the 1930s,
she set up and collaborated with him on the Poulk Press. During
this time, she also worked with her brother Ben (1894’1982) and
his wife, the artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903’1975),
on numerous textile designs.

A lifelong feminist, Nicholson promoted contraception while
it was still illegal, often cycling to villages and setting up stalls
in the local area and setting up stalls to provide information and
support for women.

During the 1940s, she had a shop on Motcomb Street in
London where she printed and displayed her fabrics, and her work
was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1976.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk

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