Oil on canvas board
13 x 16 inches
Provenance: Sir Ralph Richardson,
with the Chenil Gallery, London
Private Collection, USA
Literature: Andrew Nicholson (ed.), William Nicholson: Painter, Giles de la Mare, London, 1996, p. 100, illustrated in colour
Nicholson painted this picture in 1908, the year before he moved into the Old Vicarage in the village of Rottingdean in Sussex amongst the South Downs. Here he discovered landscape painting, even calling himself ‘The Painter of the Downs.’ Simplifying the dominant shapes in the landscapes and minimising human elements lent his landscapes a surreal quality. Ignoring this, his son Ben once remarked that the key to his father was that ‘he merely wanted to paint,’ and whilst this remark may seem oddly dismissive, it may also be rather acute: there is sensual enjoyment in the rich green of the rain soaked grass, the drizzle in the air above, and the slick ribbon of the path that unrolls over the undulating Downs.