Patrick O'Connor

A Cut-Out Above

William Nicholson


Yale University Press 296pp £35 order from our bookshop

‘DISCONCERTINGLY POSH ‘ IS Sanford Schwartz’s assessment of some of William Nicholson’s early still life’s. During the second half of the twentieth century, this may have been many viewers’ initial reaction to Nicholson’s paintings. Schwartz sums him up as ‘a master of evasion’, ‘charming, stalwart, sensation-loving, MG-driving’, a ‘quick-reflex man’; what could his paintings have to say about the turbulent times? Max Beerbohm’s 1907 caricature of Nicholson shows him as a bow-legged dandy, hand on hip, strolling down a London street, sporting a long jacket that’s tight at the waist, bow tie, bowler hat, pointy shoes and walking cane. This is not a figure from la vie de bohème.

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