Although Winifred Nicholson’s paintings are primarily about colour she is also very much a painter of place. And while many of her best known and most loved pictures were painted on her various travels in the Hebrides, Greece or France, in many ways she was most at home in her native Cumberland, writing, “I have always lived in Cumberland – the call of the curlew is my call, the tremble of the harebell is my tremble in life, the blue mist of lonely fells is my mystery, and the silver gleam when the sun does come out is my pathway” (Winifred Nicholson, quoted in Andrew Nicholson (ed.), Unknown Colour, Paintings, Letters Writings by Winifred Nicholson, Faber and Faber, London, 1987, p.43).
Flowers in a Winter Landscape was painted at Winifred Nicholson’s house in North East Cumbria overlooking Tindale and Cold Fell at the end of the North Pennines. There is a work titled February also painted in 1971 (see Christopher Andreae, Winifred Nicholson, Lund Humphries, Aldershot, 2009, p.13), which bears a striking similarity to the present lot. In a letter written that March Winifred described her state of mind at the time: “There is a shimmer of snow on Tindale and a scatter of snowdrops everywhere – white foggy mist has lifted but will come down soon. I love my loneliness up here on this hillside. … All I need are the expression on the face of a crocus or on the face of the crescent moon waking me up looking in at my window – out of the mist and frost” (Winifred Nicholson in a letter to Ben Nicholson, March 1971, quoted in Jovan Nicholson, Winifred Nicholson in Cumberland, exh. cat., Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendall, 2016, p.75).
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