• 20th Century British Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5529

    20th Century British Art

    31 March 2010, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 128

    Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981)

    Sapho's Island

    Price Realised  


    Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981)
    Sapho's Island
    signed, inscribed and dated 'Painted in/Mitilini Island/of [sic] Saphos/1967/Winifred Nicholson' (on a label attached to the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm.)

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    After the death of her father in 1959, Winifred made her first working trip to Greece, accompanied by her daughter Kate. They both loved the country and made numerous trips with much of Winifred's subject matter from this time consisting of Greek landscapes. Judith Collins writes that Nicholson travelled to Greece looking for an expansion of her palette, 'the blue of the sea and the distant ranges of hills becoming bluer through atmospheric perspective immediately provided a new stimulus. Also there was a new range of wild flowers to be investigated ... Winifred found Greece a land of purity and holiness, and such qualities were to her always conducive for work' (J. Collins, Winifred Nicholson, London, 1987, p. 28). In 1967 Nicholson had her first solo exhibition at Crane Kalman Gallery which featured recent works from Greece. The present work was exhibited in her second exhibition at the gallery in 1969 following on from the success of the first and was again dominated by her Greek paintings. The introduction to the catalogue states 'The luminosity and transparency of Mrs Nicholson's most recent paintings is a natural evolution from her earlier style ... Light itself has been her starting point; light and colour are the atmosphere in which flowers, mountains and islands are made visible, as concentrations of light itself' (K. Raine, Exhibition Catalogue, The Flowers of Winifred Nicholson, Crane Kalman Gallery, 1969).

    Nicholson commented on her love of painting flowers in the same exhibition: 'I like painting flowers - I have tried to paint many different ways, but my paint brush always gives a tremor of pleasure when I let it paint a flower ' (Exhibition Catalogue, The Flowers of Winifred Nicholson, Crane Kalman Gallery, 1967).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Purchased by Miss D. Francis at the 1969 exhibition, and then by descent to the present owner.


    London, Crane Kalman Gallery, The Flowers of Winifred Nicholson, February - March 1969, no. 4.