Winifred Nicholson Jake and Kate on the Isle of Wight 1931 © Trustees of Winifred Nicholson


Born 1893
Died 1981
Nationality English
Birth place Oxford
Death place Carlisle, Cumbria

Winifred Roberts was born into a renowned English family, prominent in art and politics. Initially she studied painting under her grandfather, the 9th Earl of Carlisle, before enrolling at the Byam Shaw School of Art, London in 1912. Two years later, she was showing at the Royal Academy. A trip to India in 1919 sparked a lifelong interest in the portrayal of light, shade and space using colour. She married the artist Ben Nicholson in 1920; they exhibited together in numerous London exhibitions during the 1920s. By 1931 they had separated and shortly after Winifred moved to Paris, where she remained for the next six years, associating with the Abstraction-Création group and experimenting with abstraction. Between 1925 and 1935 she was a member of the Seven and Five Society, showing in 11 of their exhibitions including the first entirely abstract exhibition in Britain, held at the Zwemmer Gallery, London. Winifred visited the Hebrides and Western Scotland many times during the 1940s and ‘50s and in 1953 she exhibited works from these trips at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh. Many of them were landscapes or flower paintings, for which she was well known. During her lifetime she showed in over 200 group exhibitions and in 1979 a major touring retrospective was organised by the Scottish Arts Council.