Winifred Nicholson lived in her father's house, Boothby, in Cumberland from about 1944, and this is probably where she painted Cumberland Flowers. In the work she combines a bright still life with the Cumberland landscape. She commented, 'I have always lived in Cumberland, the call of the curlew is my call, the tremble of the harebell is my tremble of life, the blue mist of lonely fells is my mystery, and the silver gleam when the sun does come out is my pathway' (see A. Nicholson (ed.), Unknown Colour, London, 1987, p. 43).
The yellow of the flowers in the present work is reinforced by the colour of the table cloth, and similar to the colours she discusses in an article, 'Liberation of Colour', published in 1944 in the World Review under the name Winifred Dacre: 'Yesterday I set out to pick a yellow bunch. I picked Iceland poppies, marigolds, yellow iris; my bunch would not tell yellow. I added sunflowers, canary pansies, buttercups, dandelions, no yellower. I added to my butter like mass, two everlasting peas, magenta pink, and all the yellows broke into luminosity; orange and gold and lemon and primrose each singing its note' (op. cit., p. 126).
Cumberland Flowers has a companion piece, Dusky Cranesbill II, 1947 (private collection), in which the same jug is represented with very similar flowers and view. She often used the same view to paint more than one picture.
We are very grateful to Jovan Nicholson for assisting with the catalogue entries for lots 2-4.
Christopher Andreae is writing and compiling a new book on the work of Winifred Nicholson, in association with Lund Humphries, to be published in 2009. The author would like to hear from owners of paintings by the artist who would like their works to be considered for inclusion in his book. Please write to Christopher Andreae, c/o Christie's, 20th Century British Art Department, 8 King Street, London, SW1Y 6QT.