Sir William Nicholson

The Hill above Harlech


Not on display

Sir William Nicholson 1872–1949
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 537 × 594 mm
frame: 626 × 681 × 70 mm
Purchased with assistance from the Knapping Fund 1968

Display caption

The Nicholsons lived at Harlech in North Wales towards the end of the First World War and later. This view is from high above Harlech Castle, which is itself on the edge of a hill, and looks across Tremadoc Bay to the mountains on the Lleyn Peninsula. It is seems to be by moonlight, after rain, with a reflection from a slate roof and a pattern of shadows cast by the walls around the fields.

Nicholson began to paint landscapes in these sudued colours in about 1909, when he moved to Rottingdean on the Sussex coast.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

Sir William Nicholson 1872–1949

T01047 The Hill Above Harlech c.1917

Inscribed ‘Nicholson’ b.l., and ‘The Hill above Harlech W N’ on reverse.
Canvas, 21¿ x 23¿ (53.5 x 59.5).
Purchased from Roland, Browse and Delbanco (Grant-in-Aid) 1968.
Coll: Bought by J. J. Morgan from Goupil Gallery exhibition 1918, and still his in 1946; Leger Galleries 1951; Lord Wilmot by 1956; R. Colin Smith; acquired by Roland, Browse and Delbanco 1966.
Exh: Goupil Gallery, June–July 1918 (10); Beaux Arts Gallery, 1927 (15); Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery, March-April 1933 (65); Beaux Arts Gallery, May–June 1933 (29), as c. 1915; Contemporary British painting exhibition. Golden Gate Exposition, San Francisco, April–September 1939 and United States tour (with British Art exhibition from New York World Fair 1939), Toledo, Kansas City, Providence, New Haven, Buffalo, Northampton, Dayton, Akron, Youngston, 1939–44; and Canadian tour, Ottawa, London, Montreal, Winnipeg, 1944–45.
Lit: Lillian Browse, William Nicholson, 1956, No. 202, p. 66 as painted 1917.
Repr: Studio, LXXIV, 1918, p. 6; S. K. N. [S. Kennedy North], William Nicholson, 1923, pi. 30, as ‘Harlech’.

‘A view of Harlech Castle with a wide bay beyond. In Lillian Browse’s catalogue of Nicholson’s work it is dated 1917. Miss Browse writes that Nicholson paid visits to Wales in 1917, 1918 and 1919: two other paintings of Harlech subjects are dated 1919, and numbered 210 and 293 in her catalogue. Ben Nicholson writes (letter of 21 May 1968): ‘My parents rented a small house at Harlech – I don’t know on what date but it covered a period during World War One, I would guess the early part of this and possibly before’.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1967–1968, London 1968.

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