princess (kings and queens), 1933 (circa)
Nicholson began to make hand-printed textiles for his own use. Later he welcomed their saleability, as it helped relieve his poor finances. In the 1930s he created several different designs, sometimes in collaboration with his wife Barbara Hepworth. The prints were made using blocks of linoleum. They often incorporated one reversed impression as a ‘signature’, as well as a vertical or horizontal red line appearing at intervals across the pattern.
In the late 1940s Nicholson gave many of the blocks to his sister Nancy, who used them to print editions which she sold, alongside her own textiles, at Poulk Press, in London. In 1937 Nicholson also produced six woven and printed designs for his friend Alastair Morton, of the Edinburgh Weavers, which were marketed as part of the Constructivist range.
Painting [BN 39]
Linocut on cloth
2640 x 1030 mm
About the artist
Ben Nicholson was the son of the painter William Nicholson. After marrying Winifred Roberts, during the 1920s he travelled widely and lived with her between Cumberland, London, Paris and Switzerland. Following a period experimenting with a post-Cézanne manner, Nicholson developed a consciously 'primitive' landscape style in 1927, further encouraged by his encounter with the art of Alfred Wallis. Between 1931 and 1939 he lived in London in close proximity to many artists and critics such as Moore, Piper, Martin, Ede and Herbert Read. He met Arp, Brancusi, and later Mondrian, Gabo and Jean Hélion. The influence of these artists led him to develop a highly abstract style of the late 1930s, for which he is most famous. In 1931 he met Barbara Hepworth, who would become his second wife. He returned to St. Ives during the war with Hepworth, Gabo and Stokes and established an international reputation in the 1950s and 60s. After the war he lived at various times in London, Cambridge and Switzerland and married a third time to Felicitas Vogler.