Sir William Nicholson (British, 1872-1949) Alcazar Gardens 32 x 40.5 cm. (13 x 16 1/8 in.) (Painted in 1933)

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Lot 7
Sir William Nicholson
(British, 1872-1949)
Alcazar Gardens 32 x 40.5 cm. (13 x 16 1/8 in.)

Sold for £ 21,500 (US$ 30,180) inc. premium
Sir William Nicholson (British, 1872-1949)
Alcazar Gardens
oil on panel
32 x 40.5 cm. (13 x 16 1/8 in.)
Painted in 1933

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    With The Leicester Galleries, London, 1943
    Collection of Gordon Binnie by 1956, thence by family descent
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Exhibited
    London, The Leicester Galleries, Paintings by Sir William Nicholson, April 1943, cat.no.26
    Hove, Hove Museum, An Exhibition of Work by Sussex Painters: Past and Present, 16 June–16 September 1951

    Literature
    Lillian Browse, William Nicholson, Rupert Hart-Davis, London, 1956, p.104, cat.no.446 (dated 1935)
    Patricia Reed, William Nicholson: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Yale University Press, London & New Haven, 2011, p.531, cat.no.685

    William Nicholson's Spanish paintings of the 1930s are mainly associated with Malaga and the hills above the port: Plaza da Torres, Malaga (1935, Tate Britain) and the area around Segovia: The Road to Zamarramala (1936, Sheffield City Art Gallery) where he travelled with the novelist Marguerite Steen, who later wrote his biography. However Nicholson's first experience of Spain was a six week stay in Seville, January-February 1933. He was in the company of his old friend and patron, Mrs Ada Pringle, who had already made several visits to Spain. As she was recuperating after an operation they did not go far from their hotel in the centre of town.

    Seville, the birthplace of his favourite artist, Velazquez, delighted Nicholson. It was also his first introduction to Moorish design and architecture, and he paid frequent visits to the Alcazar and its gardens. Made up of a series of compartment gardens that had evolved over the centuries and planted with myrtle hedges, orange groves, roses and many species of palms that Nicholson had never seen before, the whole area was overgrown and full of mystery.

    In the present work Nicholson has cropped the image in order to focus on the trunks of the palm trees – the oldest trees known to man. A Pindo palm or Jelly palm (Butia Capitata) appears left of centre, its trunk is covered with the stubs of dead palm leaves, their descendants – feathery palm fronds, curving gracefully down to the left. Unidentified palms to left and right with the diagonal of what is probably a young palm of the tall, spindly type with fan-shaped leaves that Nicholson had featured in Bombay Landscape and Bombay Outskirts (both 1915), and also in his pen and ink street scenes of 1920, such as Place de la Liberté (Sold in these rooms, 11 November 1999, lot 227). In the shadows of the middle distance (right) a couple move along an unseen path – the woman in a purple kaftan and the man in a striped shirt. The foreground left is animated by a pair of white doves. The limited palette, use of impasto and strong shadows add to the drama.

    We are grateful to Patricia Reed for compiling this catalogue entry.
Contacts
Sir William Nicholson (British, 1872-1949) Alcazar Gardens 32 x 40.5 cm. (13 x 16 1/8 in.) (Painted in 1933)
Sir William Nicholson (British, 1872-1949) Alcazar Gardens 32 x 40.5 cm. (13 x 16 1/8 in.) (Painted in 1933)
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