John E Nicholls (British 1885-1955) Still Life of Flowers in a Glass Vase on a Marble Ledge. Oil on Wood Panel. Signed Lower Right. Mounted in a good gilt wood frame. Sight (visible painting) measurements: 59cm x 49cm (23.25” x 19.25”). Frame measurements: 74.5cm x 64.5cm (29.25” x 25.5”).
The high degrees of realism and depth to this painting combine with the perfection of the flowers to give a strong impression of Spring freshness.
CONDITION: In excellent condition and ready to hang. No restoration found under inspection with ultraviolet light. Two tiny paintless spots at the upper right edge where the painting has slipped down in the frame slightly. You would need to be an obsessive compulsive (like me!) to notice them. The frame is also in good condition.
BIOGRAPHY: John E Nicholls is most celebrated for his still-lifes of flowers, which, certainly from 1946 onwards, became his specialism. From this date, exhibitions record his flower oils: Prior to 1946, the Royal Academy (RA) exhibited three works of his: in 1923, ‘December’; in 1927, ‘Mrs Platt’ and ‘The Street’.
Much like his peers, with whom he is often associated (Cecil Kennedy, Harold Clayton, Gerald Cooper, and Bennett Oates), Nicholls was inspired by the still-life treatments perfected by the Dutch Old Masters: meticulous technique, natural abundance. His paintings are, however, very compatible with contemporary tastes: His bouquets are bright, crisp, fresh, colourful, as though freshly picked after a springtime shower. Many of his works contain lilies and roses: eternal symbols of purity and love.
Little is known about John E Nicholls’s life. We know he was working in South West London (Hollywood Road, SW10; & Kings Road SW3) at the time the aforementioned works were exhibited. At the time when six of his flower still-lifes were shown by the RA (1946,‘Gladiolus’; 1950, ‘Spring Flowers’; 1951, ‘Peonies, Lilies and other Flowers’; 1952, ‘Summer Flowers’ & ‘Peonies and Roses’; 1953, ‘Flower-piece: Summer’) Nicholls was at 6 Gainsborough Studios, Chiswick.
John E Nicholls exhibited at the New English Art Club and the Redfern Gallery, as well as the RA; and was an elected member of The National Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers.
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