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Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)
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Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)

Pink Cattleyas in a wine glass on a plate

Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949)
Pink Cattleyas in a wine glass on a plate
signed with an initial 'N' (lower left)
oil on canvas-board
16 x 13 in. (40.7 x 33 cm.)
Purchased by T.E. Milligan Grundy at the 1938 exhibition.
Purchased by Hart Massey at the 1945 exhibition.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's London, 15 December 1971, lot 4.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, 4 March 1977, lot 87.
with Michael Parkin Gallery, London.
Michael Barclay.
London, Leicester Galleries, Paintings by Sir William Nicholson, May - June 1938, no. 26.
London, Leicester Galleries, Artists of Fame and Promise, Summer 1945, no. 55.
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, William Nicholson Centenary Exhibition, April - May 1972, no. 20.
Alderburgh, Festival Exhibition, 1972, no. 20.
London, Arts Council of Great Britain, William Nicholson Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 1980, no. 43.
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Lot Essay

Painted in South Africa in 1931 while the artist was on a visit to his in-laws, Sir Lionel and Lady Phillips, who had an estate, Vergelegen, in Somerset West near Cape Town. (There is a First Class Cabin label on verso). Lady Phillips had arranged for Nicholson to have an exhibition of ten landscapes and still lifes at the recently opened South African National Gallery in Cape Town in March 1931 (catalogue untraced). The artist and his wife Edie spent most of March and April in South Africa and it was probably at this time that Nicholson secured the commission for a posthumous portrait of the businessman and politician J.W. Jagger (South Africa National Gallery), who had owned a model fruit farm adjoining Vergelegen. Nicholson painted a view of the area entitled The Hedelberg (Hottentots Holland), sold Christie's, 1 July 1993, lot 9. Apart from this landscape and the Pink Cattleyas, only one other work seems to have resulted from his visit: White Cattleyas. This was also exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1938, no. 32, and is described in Lillian Browse's catalogue of the artist's works (no. 395) as 'white orchid and buds in a glass vase'. This limited output is probably a result of the tense atmosphere that prevailed at Vergelegen for much of his stay. At one point tempers snapped and after a furious row with his mother-in-law, Lady Phillips, Nicholson stormed out of the house intent on catching the next boat back to England. Unfortunately he discovered that there was not another boat for several days and so, as the next was the boat that he and Edie were already booked on, Nicholson returned to Vergelegen, but not in the best of tempers.

We are very grateful to Patricia Reed for providing the catalogue entry for this and the subsequent lot.

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