Focusing on the paintings the artist made in the local area, where she lived for long periods throughout her career.
Winifred Nicholson spent long periods of her life travelling in Italy, France and Greece but it was Cumbria that always felt like home. ‘The earth of Cumberland is my earth … the call of the curlew is my call, the tremble of the harebell is my tremble in life, the blue mist of the lonely fells is my mystery, and the sliver gleam when the sun does come out is my pathway’.
She first moved to Bankshead in the 1920s and, while she continued to make frequent trips abroad, she made most of her paintings at her house on Hadrian’s Wall. Fascinated by the rural landscapes that surrounded her she became increasingly creative with colour; a theme that would preoccupy her throughout her career.
The outbreak of the Second World War prompted Nicholson to relocate to her parents’ home in Boothby, which she would use as her base for the next 20 years. Here she focused on painting the interiors of the property and the differing views from each of its windows, pushing herself to find new ways of expressing the same scenes.
After returning to Bankshead in the 1960s, Nicholson entered the most experimental phase of her career. Inspired by the spectral colours of a prism, her depictions of the North Pennines became increasingly abstract.
This exhibition at Abbot Hall brings together the artist’s most celebrated Cumbrian paintings with rarely-seen works and archival material, and has been curated by her grandson, Jovan Nicholson.