Sir William Nicholson

Sir William Nicholson was an English painter of still-life, landscape and portraits, also known for his work as a wood-engraver, illustrator, author of children's books and designer for the theatre.

As a printmaker Sir William Nicholson achieved fame through three major works, 'London Types', 'An Almanac of Twelve Sports' and 'An Illustrated Alphabet'. He also produced a series entitled 'Portraits' which included that of Queen Victoria and other important figures in Victorian England. The majority of his prints were made using woodblocks for which he used the side of the woodblock, rather than the end grain. The prints in our inventory were printed at the Whittington Press by John Randle, Rosalind Randle and Miriam Macgregor, with the help of Jane Lyons and Simon Lawrence. They were printed in 1978 and 1980 directly from the original woodblocks and some of which are hand-coloured, possibly by Edward and Helen Craig who assisted in the production of these portfolios and who wrote the introduction. These woodblocks are now on permanent loan at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is important to note that the majority of Nicholson prints on the open market, whilst being from the 1890s, are lithographic reproductions of Nicholson's prints and have not been directly printed from the woodblocks and are not hand-coloured. The majority of our prints, whilst being from the 1970s and 1980s, represent Nicholson's work in its purest form, directly from the blocks themselves. These are now very scarce in any form and include impressions from some blocks that were never published. There have been several important retrospective exhibitions since his death, the most recent being at the Royal Academy in 2004-5.  

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