20 Sep 2011
672 pages: 284 x 264 x 45mm
640 colour illustrations + 90 black & white illustrations
William Nicholson is among the most admired yet elusive painters in British art. Neither academic nor overtly modernist, his ravishing paintings are a singular achievement of the early twentieth century.
Nicholson made his name as a graphic artist in the 1890s before turning to painting full-time. Over the next four decades he explored the genres of portraiture, landscape and still life with exceptional inventiveness, wit and technical skill. Yet his aversion to art groups and his reluctance to make public pronouncements about art have made it difficult to place his work within the main narratives of twentieth-century art history.
The breadth of Nicholson’s painting is revealed in this sumptuous book, the first fully illustrated catalogue raisonné of the oils. Many of Nicholson’s pictures have not been recorded before and most are reproduced here for the first time. The catalogue, which represents more than twenty years of scholarship on the part of its author, Patricia Reed, includes detailed entries on all Nicholson’s oil paintings and the most comprehensive chronology of his life to date. The art historian Wendy Baron gives a context for Nicholson in British art at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the painter and critic Merlin James celebrates the virtuosity of Nicholson’s painting technique and the cerebral subtlety of this most individual of painters.
Winner of the Spear’s Award 2012 for Outstandingly Produced Book
Nominated for the 2013 Historians of British Art Prize
Nominated for the Berger Prize 2012
‘Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949) was one of the greatest painters of the early 20th century in England and this book must be one of the greatest achievements of art history of its type of the century’ – Adrian Clark, The British Art Journal
‘Thoroughly impressive in its scholarship, design and sheer physical enormity, this beautiful volume has been worth the wait’ – Lee Hallman, The Burlington Magazine
‘A capacious and glorious volume’ – Jane Brown, The Spectator
‘This heavy handsome book perfectly suits his [William Nicholson’s] diligence.’ – Brian Sewell, ‘Art Books of the Year’, Evening Standard
‘This magnificent book… is an example of diligent scholarship and attention to detail… [an] engrossing and monumental study.’ – Robert Radford, Cassone
‘A model of exemplary scholarship.’ – William Packer, The Times
Patricia Reed is an independent art historian and the principal scholar on the oil paintings of William Nicholson.