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    Sale 7637

    20th Century British Art

    12 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 33

    Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981)


    Price Realised  


    Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981)
    oil and pencil on board
    21 x 22¼ in. (53.3 x 56.5 cm.)
    Painted circa 1921-2.

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    After their marriage in November 1920 Winifred and Ben Nicholson toured Italy looking at pictures and with the aim of finding somewhere to live. They eventually bought Villa Capriccio, in the Ticino, Switzerland, which was light and spacious with views over Lake Lugano, and spent the winters there from 1920 until 1923. Away from England they experimented fast and furiously and Mughetti (Italian for lilies-of-the-valley) was the first painting where she found her true style.

    From the letters between Winifred and Ben it is clear that Mughetti and the period it symbolised came to represent a special time that they had had together. She wrote to him in 1932, 'The idea of Marriage I had when we married is expressed in the Mughetti. I remember thinking of it while I painted. Love and the secret lovely things that is unfolds'.

    Later she wrote, 'How many winters were there? I do not remember - but that last one our painting came to flowering point. It had hatched - Ben had given me a pot of lilies of the valley - Mughetti - in a tissue paper wrapper - this I stood on the window sill - behind was azure blue, Mountain, Lake and Sky, all there - and the tissue paper wrapper held the secret of the universe. That picture painted itself, and after that the same theme painted itself on that window sill, in cyclamen, primula, or cineraria - sunlight on leaves, and sunlight shining through lens and through the mystery of tissue paper'.

    Mrs E.J. Hooper (née Jenkinson) studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art before the First World War at the same time as Winifred Nicholson where the two painters became close friends. Like Winifred Nicholson, the Hoopers spent much time in Cumberland.


    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    A gift from the artist to Mrs E.J. Hooper (née Jenkinson), and by descent.


    A. Nicholson (ed.), Unknown Colour Paintings, Letters, Writings by Winifred Nicholson, London, 1987, pp. 13, 37, 67, 139, 160, 173, illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Winifred Nicholson, London, Tate Gallery, 1987, pp. 41, 74, no. 1, illustrated twice.
    Exhibition catalogue, Ben Nicholson, London, Tate Gallery, 1993, p. 21, illustrated.
    W. Nicholson, Flower Tales, LYC, 1976, illustrated.


    London, Beaux Arts Gallery, Paintings by Benjamin and Winifred Nicholson, May 1923, no. 36.
    London, Arlington Gallery, Exhibition of Campden Hill Club, October 1923, no. 21.
    Kendal, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Winifred Nicholson and Geoffrey Bennett, May 1969, no. 1, as 'Mughetti (Lily of the Valley)'.
    Edinburgh, Scottish Arts Council Gallery, Winifred Nicholson Paintings 1900-1978, December 1979, no. 7: this exhibition travelled to Carlisle, Art Gallery, November 1979; Glasgow, Third Eye Centre, December 1979; Newcastle, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Hatton Gallery, January - February 1980; Colchester, The Minories, February - March 1980; and Penwith, St Ives Galleries, March - April 1980.
    London, Tate Gallery, Winifred Nicholson, June - August 1987, no. 1: this exhibition travelled to Newcastle, Laing Art Gallery, August - September 1987; Bristol, City Art Gallery, September - November 1987; Stoke, City Art Gallery, November - December 1987; Aberdeen, City Art Gallery, January 1988; and Cambridge, Kettle's Yard, February - March 1988.