Ben Nicholson was born in Denham, Buckinghamshire, the son of the painter Sir William Nicholson. Apart from one term at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, he had no formal art training. Nicholson was one of the most influential British artists of the 20th Century, celebrated for his ability to synthesise and abstract from nature its bare essentials and re-form them in compositions of extreme elegance and clarity. From 1933 he was a member of Unit One with Paul Nash, Edward Burra, Henry Moore and Edward Wadsworth. He spent some travelling abroad before settling in London between 1932 - 1939, but it was on his move to the small fishing town of St Ives on the coast of Cornwall, in the south west of England, that his art took new directions. For the most part his paintings and reliefs are geometrically organised, playing formal and austere lines against blocks of subdued colour, achieving a balance between line and suggested volume. He always retained his interest in landscape, and the clear, bright light of Cornwall was probably instrumental in developing his sense of light, almost transparent colour, through which objects are filtered rather then merely described.