Nancy Nicholson
Nancy Nicholson was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and fabric designer.

Born Annie Mary Pryde Nicholson, she was the only daughter of the artists Sir William Nicholson
William Nicholson (artist)
Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson was an English painter of still-life, landscape and portraits, also known for his work as a wood-engraver, illustrator, author of children's books and designer for the theatre....

 and Mabel Pryde
Mabel Pryde
Mabel Pryde was an artist, best known for being the wife of artist William Nicholson and mother of artists Ben Nicholson and Nancy Nicholson and the architect Christopher 'Kit' Nicholson....

. She had three brothers, sculptor Ben Nicholson
Ben Nicholson
Benjamin Lauder "Ben" Nicholson, OM was a British painter of abstract compositions , landscape and still-life.-Background and Training:...

, architect Christopher Nicholson
Christopher Nicholson
Christopher Nicholson was a leading British architect and designer of the early Modern Movement in Britain. His most notable works of the 1930s were comparable to the advanced modern abstract style of his older brother, the artist Ben Nicholson, OM, .-Early life and education:The son of artists...

 and Anthony, who was killed in action in 1918 in the First World War.

Nancy married the poet Robert Graves
Robert Graves
Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

 in 1918. The following year Graves started as a student in Oxford. The couple lived in a cottage on Boars Hill
Boars Hill
Boars Hill is a hill hamlet southwest of Oxford, straddling the boundariy between the civil parishes of Sunningwell and Wootton. It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.-History:...

 in Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 which they rented from the author John Masefield
John Masefield
John Edward Masefield, OM, was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967...

. In 1920, in partnership with a neighbour, The Hon. Mrs Michael Howard, Nancy set up a small grocer's shop, next door to the Masefields' house. Alarmed by the tourists it attracted, Mrs Masefield opposed its takeover by an Oxford firm, and the project collapsed after 6 months, leaving heavy debts settled only with the help of friends and family. In disgust, Graves and Nancy moved to the village of Islip
Islip, Oxfordshire
Islip is a village and civil parish on the River Ray, just above its confluence with the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England. It is about east of Kidlington and about north of Oxford. This village in Oxfordshire is not related to Islip, New York...

, the other side of Oxford.

A life-long feminist, Nancy used to cycle to Oxfordshire villages and set up a stall to explain to women how to use contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

, when it was still illegal. Her open-mindedness led her to accept a triangular relationship, and from early 1926 Laura Riding
Laura Riding
Laura Jackson was an American poet, critic, novelist, essayist and short story writer.- Early life :...

 lived with her and Graves in London The marriage eventually broke down, as Graves increasingly favoured Riding, leaving Nancy to bring up the four children of the marriage alone, in a succession of locations, including Cumberland
Cumberland is a historic county of North West England, on the border with Scotland, from the 12th century until 1974. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria....

 and a further spell on Boars Hill. Nancy and Graves legally divorced in 1949.

After a period in the early 1930s living with Geoffrey Taylor
Geoffrey Phibbs
Geoffrey Phibbs was an Irish poet; he took his mother's name and called himself Geoffrey Taylor, after about 1930. He was brought up in Sligo, and educated at Haileybury.In 1924 he married the artist Norah McGuinness....

 on a houseboat moored in Hammersmith
Hammersmith is an urban centre in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in west London, England, in the United Kingdom, approximately five miles west of Charing Cross on the north bank of the River Thames...

, Nancy set up the Poulk Press, in which she collaborated for a time with him. They lived near Sutton Veny
Sutton Veny
Sutton Veny is a small village situated in the Wylye Valley, about 2 miles south east of the town of Warminster in Wiltshire, England. 'Sutton' means south farmstead in relation to Norton Bavant, one mile to the north...

, Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, in a timber house designed by Nancy and built with family labour. Her relationship with Taylor lasted five years. She worked at this period with her brother Ben
Ben Nicholson
Benjamin Lauder "Ben" Nicholson, OM was a British painter of abstract compositions , landscape and still-life.-Background and Training:...

 and his wife Barbara Hepworth
Barbara Hepworth
Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE was an English sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism, and with such contemporaries as Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo she helped to develop modern art in Britain.-Life and work:Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield,...

 on textiles.

Undeterred by the failure of the Boars Hill shop, in the 1940s she ran a business in Motcomb Street, London. Her designs influenced her sister-in-law EQ Nicholson
EQ Nicholson
EQ Nicholson was an English painter and fabric designer.-Early life:Born Elsie Queen Myers in London, EQ was the daughter of novelist Leo Myers and his American born wife Elsie Mellen Nicholson ; she had a younger sister Eveleen Myers Myers...

. Her work was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

in 1976.
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