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William Nicholson

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Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson (5 February 1872 - 16 May 1949) was an English painter, also known for his work as an illustrator and author of childrens books. Nicholson was the son of William Newzam Nicholson, an industrialist and Conservative MP of Newark and his wife Annie Elizabeth Prior, the daughter of Joseph Prior and Elizabeth (ne Mallam) of Woodstock, Oxon. He was a student at Hubert von Herkomer's art school. Nicholsons partnership with James Pryde, his brother-in-law, was conspicuous for striking graphical work and woodcuts they were known as the Beggarstaff Brothers, and their poster work was significant historically. After 1900 he concentrated on painting, encouraged by Whistler. Nicholson was involved in illustrating early volumes from Robert Graves, with Nancy, who was Graves first wife. He wrote and illustrated characteristic childrens books: The Velveteen Rabbit (1922) by Margery Williams and his own Clever Bill (1926) and The Pirate Twins (1929) for Faber & Faber. He also designed stained glass, notably a memorial window at St Andrews Church, Mells. Nicholson was knighted in 1936. Nicholson married Mabel Pryde (1871-1918), also an artist, in 1893. Their children were artists Ben Nicholson and Nancy Nicholson, the architect Christopher Nicholson and a third son, Anthony, who was killed in action in 1918 in the First World War.


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