Provenance - Collection of Valerie Thornton and Michael Chase. Purchased from Estate Sale, Michael Chase. Private Collection, London.
Winifred Nicholson was born in Oxford and was surrounded by art from an early age. Her wealthy parents and family friends displayed Pre-Raphaelite paintings in their homes which inspired the young Winifred. Her grandfather was the artist, George Howard, who was a close friend of Burne-Jones and William Morris. Her grandmother was Rosalind Howard, the Countess of Carlisle, and was involved with the Suffragettes and Temperance movement. In 1911, when George Howard died, Rosalind gave his paints and brushes to Winifred. A year later she started her studies at the Byam Shaw Art School in London and exhibited her first watercolour (of Lincoln Cathedral) at the Royal Academy in 1914.
She married her fellow artist Ben Nicholson (1894-1982) in 1920 and they had three children before Ben left her to live with the sculptor Barbara Hepworth in 1931. During the 1920s she made many trips with Ben to St Ives in Cornwall and painted with Christopher Wood (1901-1930). Her busy life took her to Paris, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, aswell as the Lake District and Northumberland coast. Her paintings were exhibited in the Zwemmer Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Lefevre Gallery, the Leicester Galleries, the Crane Kalman Gallery and others. Today her paintings can be seen in the Tate Gallery, London, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, Manchester Art Gallery, Aberdeen Art Gallery and in many other museums and art galleries.
Winifred made her first of many trips to the Hebrides in 1950, visiting Eigg, South Uist and Barra. During one stay in May 1980, she was joined for a week on Eigg by the artists Valerie Thornton and her husband Michael Chase. She had first met Michael in 1955 and exhibited in the following year with him at the Zwemmer Gallery. They had remained friends ever since and he donated a work by Winifred Nicholson to The Tate in 1994, "Glimpse upon Waking, 1976", the same year as the above painting, "Seamus Pier, Isle of Eigg, 1976". It was in 1975 that Winifred met the physicist Glen Schaefer who gave her some prisms and she began painting her prismatic pictures.