William Nicholson, the father of Ben Nicholson, was born in Newark-on-Trent. After an unsuccessful tutelage with Hubert Herkomer, he studied in Paris before returning to England and marrying the painter Mabel Pryde. With Mabel’s brother, the painter James Pryde, he started up a successful poster business, under the title J & W Beggarstaff, designing work for the nascent advertising industry. They made used of strong outlines against backgrounds stripped of all unnecessary detail, influenced in part by the work of Jules Cheret and Toulouse Lautrec that Nicholson had seen in Paris. He carried much of this style over into his woodcuts and lithographs. The portrait of Rodin was commissioned to accompany an essay in The Outlook (8 April 1905): Rodin was then at the height of his fame in England. Nicholson went on to become a highly successful portrait painter, made a Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1934–39, and knighted in 1936. His landscapes and silvery paintings of domestic items – from cream jugs to Gertrude Jekyll’s boots, are amongst some of the most beautiful paintings of the Edwardian era.