Cumbrian landscape painting by Winifred Nicholson, one of the leading British 20th Century modern artists

Winifred Nicholson in Cumberland

8 July - 15 October 2016

This summer, Abbot Hall Art Gallery is exploding with colour in a celebration of the Cumbrian landscape.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal is staging a major exhibition of Cumbrian landscape paintings by Winifred Nicholson (1893–1981), one of Britain’s foremost twentieth-century painters. Winifred Nicholson in Cumberland is curated exclusively for Abbot Hall by art historian, Jovan Nicholson, the grandson of the artist. The show includes paintings previously unseen from private collections that Winifred made of Cumbria, where she lived for large parts of her life. The show explores her experimentation with colour, light, rural life and landscapes of Cumberland.

This is what our visitors are saying about the exhibtion:

"So inspiring to see these paintings which otherwise would’t have been exhibited together"
"A  wonderful exhibition full of colour, shapes, weather and landscape… Glorious and inspiring too!"
"Winifred’s work makes so much sense in a Cumbrian context. She is a visual poet!"
"One of my favourite artists.  I came a long way from mid Wales to see this exhibition. Thank you!"
"The most inspiring exhibition.  Makes me want to go home and paint!"

Winifred, together with her husband artist Ben Nicholson, was at the forefront of modern painting in Britain during the 1920s. After the Second World War, Winifred began painting landscape views from her parent’s house in what was to become her signature style. At the time she said: ‘My paintings talk in colour and any of the shapes are there to express colour but not outline. The flowers are sparks of light, built of and thrown out into the air as rainbows are thrown in an arc.

She made many trips to the Lake District where she captured atmospheric landscape scenes of Ullswater, Borrowdale, Skiddaw, and the Duddon Valley. Winifred also delighted in the monumental stone circles of Cumbria.

The exhibition also includes a number of Winifred’s experimental prismatic paintings, personal ephemera and works on paper that verge on the abstract and have a rare visionary quality about them. Taken as a whole, the paintings in the show feel timeless, depicting Cumberland landscapes that have hardly changed. They are more than just views: they give an indescribable sense of a window opening onto a sunlit morning of endless opportunities.

There is an increasing recognition of Winifred Nicholson’s importance and a growing interest in her work. It is particularly appropriate that this exhibition is at Abbot Hall Art Gallery which first exhibited her work in 1969.’ Jovan Nicholson, Curator

Abbot Hall is the perfect Cumbrian setting for this exhibition, the gallery has a long history of showing Winifred Nicholson’s work and is the sole venue for this special exhibition.’ Helen Watson, Director of Programming, Lakeland Arts

Exhibition Catalogue
A fully illustrated 104 page exhibition catalogue is available by mail order or from the Gallery Shop for £15. Read more.


Exhibition sponsored by Sanlam, Kirkby Lonsdale

Sanlam, Kirkby Lonsdale

Abbot Hall Art Gallery supported by:

Arts Council EnglandSouth Lakeland District CouncilSir John Fisher FoundationKendal Town Council

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  • Winifred Nicholson, Cumberland Hills (detail). © Trustees of Winifred Nicholson
  • Winifred Nicholson, Accord (detail). © Trustees of Winifred Nicholson


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