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Mabel Pryde Nicholson Exhibition

Mabel Pryde Nicholson Exhibition
Date published: July 1, 2024

Location: Art Gallery

When: 20 July - 26 August 2024

Time: Wednesday to Saturday 10am - 4pm, Sunday 1pm - 4pm

About This Exhibition:

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The Grange Gallery is pleased to announce the first exhibition of paintings by the artist Mabel Pryde Nicholson (1871–1918) in more than 100 years.

Her story has been overshadowed by the artistic successes of the men in her family: she was the first wife of the Edwardian society portraitist and still life virtuoso William Nicholson, the mother of abstract pioneer Ben Nicholson and modern architect Kit Nicholson, and the sister of the Scottish artist James Pryde.

Running 20 July – 26 August, ‘Prydie: the life and art of Mabel Pryde Nicholson’ brings together more than 30 objects from private collections and public institutions including the Tate, Pallant House Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery. The exhibition also features letters, photographs and personal objects, almost all of which have never been on public display and will coincide with the publication of the first biography of Mabel Pryde Nicholson by Lucy Davies.

Mabel was precociously talented and met William at art school when she was 17. Like most women of her era, however, she put aside painting on marriage and when she did return, fit it in around other responsibilities. By and large she painted what was easily at hand: the interiors of her homes and her children, all four of whom were devoted to her. A number were made at the Grange itself, a former vicarage on the Sussex coast that was the Nicholsons’ home between 1909 and 1914.

When she did begin in earnest, Mabel rose by leaps and bounds – exhibiting in London and earning enough from the sale of a single painting to commission the architect Edwin Lutyens to build her a studio in the Grange’s garden, still visible today – making her sudden death in the Spanish Flu epidemic all the more tragic.

Co-curated by David Bomford and Lucy Davies, the exhibition will outline Mabel’s early years, her studies, her marriage to William Nicholson and family life with their four children – Ben, Tony, Nancy and Kit – along with her success on the London art scene and her death during the final months of the First World War. Drawing on new research, it will explore her connections with other artists, writers, actors, bohemians and intellectuals including Max Beerbohm, Walter Sickert, Rudyard Kipling, Marie Tempest, William Orpen and Lutyens, along with the complexities of female agency in both the Edwardian art world and at home.

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