• A Native Canoe off the Coast of Ceylon -
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    Watercolour heightened with bodycolour and scratching out

    21.5 x 31.2cm., 8 ?  x 12 ? inches

     

    Born in Belfast, the son of a bootmaker, Nicholl was apprenticed to a printer and in his twenties acquired a wealthy patron, the politician and writer Sir James Emerson Tennent (1804-1869) who financed a two year stay in London from 1830 to 1832. Tennent was M.P. for Belfast until July 1845 when he was knighted and appointed civil secretary to the colonial government of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In 1846 Nicholl travelled to Ceylon where Tennent had found him an appointment as teacher of landscape drawing, painting and design at the Colombo Academy. Nicholl provided the illustrations for Tennent?s book `Ceylon: an Account of the Island, Physical, Historical and Topographical? published in two volumes in October 1859.

  • Wild Flowers by a River with Cattle grazing and Mallard in Flight ? Sunset -
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    Signed in red lower left: A. Nicholl R.H.A.

    Watercolour heightened with bodycolour, stopping out and scratching out

    48 by 78 cm., 18 ? by 30 ? inches

     

    Provenance:

    Anonymous sale, Christie?s, 26th April 1988, lot 120

     

    Nicholl was born in Belfast and apprenticed to a printer before moving to London where he taught himself to paint. He left for Dublin and exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1832. The present watercolour is likely to date from that period when he specialised in views of Ireland seen through a fringe of wild flowers. He returned to London in the late 1830s and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1832 until 1854.

  • A Banyan Tree on the Galle Road near Colombo, Ceylon -
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    Signed lower left: Study from nature on the Galle road Ceylon/And… Nicholl 1847. and inscribed verso: Banian Tree on the Galle Road/near Colombo/1847/The light and shadow on this tree will give/an idea of the vivid light of the sun in this region/and I have suffered greatly by my imprudent/exposure to its terrible heat/To my old and valued friend/Mr F.D. Finlay

    Watercolour over traces of pencil

    53.1 by 36.3 cm., 21 by 14 ¼ inches

     

    Provenance:

    Given by the artist to the Belfast publisher and journalist Francis Dalzell Finlay (1793-1857)

     

    Born in Belfast, Nicholl was the son of a bootmaker. From 1822 until 1829, Nicholl worked as a compositor for the Belfast publisher, Francis Dalzell Finlay and an inscription on the reverse of the present watercolour informs that Nicholl gave it to Finlay in 1847.

     

    While employed by Finlay, Nicholl was working as a landscape artist and acquired a wealthy patron, the politician and writer Sir James Emerson Tennent (1804-1869) who financed a two year stay in London from 1830 to 1832. Tennent was M.P. for Belfast until July 1845 when he was knighted and appointed civil secretary to the colonial government of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In 1846 Nicholl travelled to Ceylon where Tennent had found him an appointment as teacher of landscape drawing, painting and design at the Colombo Academy. Nicholl provided the illustrations for Tennent’s book `Ceylon: an Account of the Island, Physical, Historical and Topographical’ published in two volumes in October 1859.

  • Fingal’s Cave, Staffa, Scotland -
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    igned lower left: Andrew Nicholl R.H.A.

    Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour, stopping out and scratching out

    614 x 473 mm., 24 x 18 ½ in.

     

    Fingal’s Cave is a large natural cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa which is off the Isle of Mull. It is named after the hero of an 18th century poem by James Macpherson. It became a tourist destination in the 19th century thanks to Mendelssohn’s `Fingal’s Cave overture’ written after the composer’s visit in 1829. Other famous visitors include Queen Victoria, J.M.W. Turner, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson and Jules Verne.

     

    Another version of this watercolour is in the Royal Collection at Osborne House, Isle of Wight.

  • Study of Eve's Apple, Ceylon -
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    Signed lower right: A Nicholl RHA and inscribed verso: Eve’s Apple. Ceylon/22nd March 1847./The flower has a texture like wax the fruit… 

    Watercolour over traces of pencil 

    36 by 25.2 cm., 14 by 9 ¾ in. 

    Provenance: The artist and by descent; Miss Nicholl, probably his sister Jane, by 1866; By family descent to c.1981. 

    Exhibited: 55 Donegal Place, Catalogue of Watercolour Drawings by the late Andrew Nicholl R.H.A., 26th May 1886, part of no., 199; London, Spink, Andrew Nicholl, the plants of Ceylon, 4th – 28th August 1981, no. 6 

    Literature: London, Spink, Andrew Nicholl, the plants of Ceylon, 1981, no. 6.

    Born in Belfast, the son of a bootmaker, Nicholl was apprenticed to a printer for seven years from 1822. He came to the attention of the politician Sir James Emerson Tennent (1804-1869) who paid for him to spend two years in England in 1830. In 1845, Tennant was appointed Colonial Secretary to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and soon Nicholl joined him as drawing teacher at the Colombo Academy. In 1848 he accompanied Tennent on an official tour of the island recording its topography and vegetation and provided illustrations for Tennent’s book on Ceylon. As well as his views of Sri Lanka, he is known for his topographical views of Ireland often with a foreground of wild flowers. An exhibition of more than 280 works by the artist, was organised by William Nicholl in Belfast in May 1886. In the introduction to the catalogue William stated that the object was to ‘vindicate the reputation of the late Mr Nicholl as an artist of no mean order’ (London, Spink, Andrew Nicholl, the Plants of Ceylon, 1981, introduction).
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