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Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981) is one of the best loved and deeply admired English painters of the 20th century. ‘She paints a pot of flowers’, wrote Jim Ede, ‘and in it you feel the laws of universal birth – it isn’t just these flowers growing – it is the whole life of nature.’
Having married Ben Nicholson in 1920, she worked with him at Lugano, Switzerland and, after 1924, in Cumbria, frequently visiting London and Paris. Ben acknowledged her as a strong influence but, with the break-up of her marriage in1930, she took her children to Paris, where she experimented in abstraction. On the eve of war, she returned to Britain, dividing her time between Bankshead, which remained her home until her death, and her father’s house at Boothby.
From there in later years she wrote to Jim Ede: ‘When one is young one is satisfied with a flower petal or a sparkle. Now I want more. I want the rainbow scale of the flower and the reason and the travel of the sparkle – and most of all a long quiet time of intense peace and uninterrupted thought – none of which one can get.’
The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are planned to explore the development of her work and trace her engagement with colour, spirituality, the modern movement and a sense of place.