Artist Search
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 

 Hugh Nicholson  (1865 - 1932)

About: Hugh Nicholson


Examples of his work  

Quick facts

Exhibits - current  



Book references

Magazine references pre-2007  

Discussion board

Signature Examples*  
Buy and Sell: Hugh Nicholson
  For sale ads Auction results*  
  Wanted ads Auctions upcoming for him*  
  Dealers Auction sales graphs*  

What's my art worth?

Magazine ads pre-1998*  

Market Alert - Free

Lived/Active: Maryland / England      Known for: portrait painting, miniatures, sculpture

Login for full access
View AskART Services

*may require subscription

Available for Hugh Nicholson:

Quick facts (Styles, locations, mediums, teachers, subjects, geography, etc.) (Hugh Nicholson)


Biographical information (Hugh Nicholson)


Book references (Hugh Nicholson)


Discussion board entries (Hugh Nicholson)


Please send me Alert Updates for Hugh Nicholson (free)
What is an alert list?

Ad Code: 4
Hugh  Nicholson
An example of work by Hugh Nicholson
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Nigel Edwards, whose sources include family genealogy and sales catalogues.

Hugh Nicholson was born in the Wandsworth area of south London, Surrey, England in 1865, one of at least 11 children of builder David Nicholson and his wife Elizabeth (nee Waterer). He was baptized at All Saints Church, Wandsworth, on 26 Jul 1865.
His father’s business became bankrupt in 1869, and it appears his parents separated around this time. Hugh continued to live with his mother until he was aged around 31 and moved to the USA. His father died in 1879.
In the 1891 UK census, he is shown as living with his widowed mother at 8 Thurleigh Road, Balham, London, Surrey, and is described as a “painter, sculptor”. The electoral roll of 1895 shows him living in two furnished front rooms in his mother’s house.
On 7th May, 1896, he was one of the founder members of the organisation that eventually became the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors, & Gravers, based at 7 Holland Park Road, London. It’s patron was the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.
However, in 1896, he also moved to Baltimore, Maryland, USA, arriving in New York on the SS Mohawk on 9th November. The 1900 census shows him living at 415 West Fayette Street in Baltimore.
The American Art News Vol 4 No 19 dated 17 Feb 1906 reports that he has been living in Baltimore for some years and has just held a tea party at which he exhibited some of his latest work. A few weeks later they reported that after the tea party he badly scalded both hands and would be unable to work for several weeks until he was recovered.
He returned to the UK for a few months in 1911 arriving back in New York on 17th November. He traveled on the Mauretania both ways.
His mother died in 1918 in London.
Nicholson later returned to Britain and at the end of his life was living in the seaside resort of Brighton, where he was known as both an artist and a photographer. Aged 67, he committed suicide. His body was found at his home at 14a Stone Street, Brighton, on the 28th March, 1932. The inquest held two days later concluded that he had committed suicide whilst of unsound mind by inhaling fumes from the gas lamps in the room. This was a relatively common method of suicide at this time in Brighton and elsewhere.

He was the uncle of the well-known actress Margaret Rutherford (known for her role as Miss Marple in the early adaptations for film of Agatha Christie’s novels) by his sister, Florence Nicholson. Interestingly, his suicide is bound to have been one of the factors that gravely affected his actress niece, Margaret Rutherford. She was what today would be diagnosed as bi-polar, but which in her lifetime was regarded as mental instability, although she kept it a guarded secret. Throughout her life she feared she may have inherited this "insanity" from both her father and her mother. Her father had battered his father to death with a chamber pot and was judged to be too insane to stand trial for murder, and her mother, Florence Nicholson, Hugh's sister, had died quite young of a heart attack following "four years of mental exhaustion". Hugh's death in 1932 will certainly have reinforced Margaret Rutherford's fears, which were also cited as the reason she never had any children."

Among portraits found as being painted by Hugh Nicholson are:

(1) Charlotte Augusta Goodday, a woman identified as Mrs C A Goodday thought to have been painted around 1890, according to the sales catalogue. You can clearly see the signature on the painting itself. I did some research and discovered that it was Charlotte Augusta Goodday (nee
Field, born 1818 in Lambeth, Surrey, England). She married Horatio Goodday who was a surgeon who spent most of his time at Guy's Hospital in London and published a number of medical books. By the 1890s, Charlotte was a widow living in Richmond, Surrey, a few miles away from where Hugh Nicholson was living in Wandsworth. Charlotte died in 1902, but the portrait must have been done before Hugh Nicholson left for the USA in November 1896. So a date around 1890+ (when he was aged 25+) would be right.

(2) Mrs WG Pirrie. This is signed and dated 1896 on the back. I have not yet found out who she was or whether she was in the UK or in the USA. Since he only reached the USA in November 1896 the odds are it was painted in the UK.

(3) Margaret and Joan Carlisle.  Sold at Bonham's on 21 Feb 2006, this is a portrait of Margaret and Joan Carlisle (as yet I don't know who they are). It is signed "H Nicholson" on the back and dated 1898 so they must have been residents of the USA (probably Baltimore) as this is from the time he was living there.

(4) Unknown Lady. Also sold at Bonham's 21 Feb 2006, this lady is unidentified even by name. It is signed "Hugh Nicholson" on the back and described as "Edwardian" by Bonham's, which
again would put it into his Baltimore period.


Following is a letter received by Nigel Edwards from Anthony Lester of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers in London.  It was a response to a query by Edwards who asked if the Society had any information on Nicholson, a founder member of the organization.  

Dear Nigel
Your email to the RMS has been sent on to me.

First, thank you very much indeed for the information on Hugh Nicholson, it is of great help for our archives, much of which was lost during World War II (our office was bombed).

As you say he was a founder member of The Society of Miniature Painters, now the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers.

In the catalogue of the Society’s inaugural exhibition (1896) he is also listed as a member of the Council and showed 19 works, including The Artist’s Mother and A Lady of Quality (priced at £45).  He is listed in 1900 as still on the Council but not listed in 1901. He is listed as a member in the 1913 catalogue but not in the 1921 (we do not have the catalogues for 1914-1920).

You probably know that in 1904 he was made a member of the Royal Society of British Artists. He also exhibited once at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

I know the image of Mrs Goodday painted on porcelain as it is illustrated in Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870-1970 by Carmela and Frederick Phillips (published in 2012).

Sorry I cannot help more.

Good luck with your research and all the best for 2014.

Kind regards
Anthony J Lester, Hon.RMS, FRSA

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
  go to top home | site map | site terms | AskART services & subscriptions | contact | about us
  copyright © 2000-2014 AskART all rights reserved ® AskART and Artists' Bluebook are registered trademarks

  A |  B |  C |  D-E |  F-G |  H |  I-K |  L |  M |  N-P |  Q-R |  S |  T-V |  W-Z  
  frequently searched artists 1, 2, more...  
  art appraisals, art for sale, auction records, misc artists