1948 (ICI SHED)

© Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

ICI SHED 1948 1948

Ben Nicholson (1894 – 1982)


20 X 25 CM (IMAGE)
Accession number


Nicholson produced a relatively small number of prints in comparison to his prodigious output of paintings, reliefs and drawings, and his use of printmaking falls into three distinct periods of activity: the linocuts of the late 1920s and 1930s, the drypoints of the late 1940s and 1950s, and the suite of etchings printed in Switzerland with the printer Francois Lafranca in the latter part of the 1960s. He did not use lithography or screenprinting and made only one woodcut, and it would appear that he never returned to a medium for a second time once the period of activity was over.

Nicholson (1894–1982) was born in Denham, Buckinghamshire and, apart from one term spent at the Slade, had no formal art education. He was one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, and it was his move to St Ives in 1939 that pushed his investigation of abstraction: a distillation of the landscape expressed in line and blocks of subdued colour. Nicholson made few prints in comparison to his prodigious output of paintings and reliefs. ICI Shedbelongs to a group of six works showing scenes in and around Newlyn and St Ives. The artist has taken a high viewpoint and with the use of nothing more than an incised line depicts an industrial compound in the Cornish landscape: the wires of the pylon lead into the distance, the row of security lighting and looping scrolls of barbed wire enclose the site. ICI had set up a factory in Hayle to extract bromine from seawater, used as an anti-knock agent in petrol.

My Yard, British Council 2009