Details & Cataloguing

Modern & Post-War British Art


Ben Nicholson, O.M.
signed, dated 1948, dedicated Denis from Ben Feb 58 and inscribed on the backboard
pencil and oil wash on card
32 by 45.5cm.; 12½ by 18in.
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Gifted by the Artist to the sculptor Denis Mitchell in 1958 and thence by descent to the previous owner
Their sale, Bonhams London, 6th March 2007, lot 133, where acquired by the present owner


London, Tate, Ben Nicholson, 13th October 1993 - 9th January 1994, cat. no.89, illustrated;
St Etienne, Musée d'Art Moderne, Ben Nicholson, 10th February - 25th April 1994;
Kendal, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, A Continuous Line: Ben Nicholson in England, 7th July - 20th September 2008, with tour to De La Ware Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea and Tate, St Ives.


Maurice de Sausmarez (ed.), Ben Nicholson, A Studio International Special, London, 1969, p.73;
Peter Khoroche, Ben Nicholson, Drawings and Painted Reliefs, Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2002, cat. no.34, illustrated p.54.

Catalogue Note

We are grateful to Dr Lee Beard for his kind assistance with the cataloguing of the present work.

The present work was gifted by Ben Nicholson to the sculptor Denis Mitchell, also the recipient of Patrick Heron's Interior at St Andrews Street, St Ives, lot 11.

'This drawing was probably made on the same day as March 1948 (tree, Lelant). In the foreground are the two gravestones which are depicted in the background of the latter. The faces of these gravestones are in reality so weather-beaten that the names on the stones are hard to decipher. Beyond the cemetry is the Lelant golf course, where Nicholson used to play, and on the other side of the estuary is the power station that Nicholson helped to camouflage during the war. The power station no longer exists. On the extreme left is Godrevy lighthouse. It is typical of Nicholson not only to unite the picturesque with the ugly but to make the ugly, in the form of the pylons, something picturesque' (Jeremy Lewison, Ben Nicholson, exh. cat., Tate, London, 1993, p.226). 

Patrick Heron drew the same view as early as 1927, Hayl. Docs. From Lelant, 'which depicts the same view from a point just outside the churchyard of St Uny, Lelent ... Both drawings notice the aerial linearities of the power cables, and the receding curving parallels by which the distance is defined' (Mel Gooding, Patrick Heron, Phaidon, London, 1994, p.23). 

Modern & Post-War British Art