Francis Nicholson (1753 – 1844)

Painter, Printmaker and Drawing Master


Some of the Celebratory Events in North Yorkshire in the bicentenary year of his Presidency of the Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1812, now known as the Old Watercolour Society.

Hailed by his contemporaries as the “Father of watercolour painting in this country”, Francis Nicholson’s career spanned nine decades. He witnessed the founding of the Royal Academy, the opening of the first public ‘Picture Gallery’, the founding of the National Gallery, the growth of provincial Fine Arts Societies and not least, the Inaugural Exhibition of the Society of Painters in Watercolours of which he was a founder member.

He was born in Pickering, North Yorkshire and for some fifty years painted portraits and scenes mainly in the northern counties. After his marriage, he worked from Whitby, Knaresborough, and Ripon before moving his family to London. For a further forty years, he continued to paint in watercolours and established himself not only as a fashionable drawing master but as an early exponent of the newly discovered medium of “lithography”- the art of making prints from drawings on stone.

To celebrate the bicentenary of his Presidency of the Society that gave rise to the “Golden Age of British Watercolours”, a ‘Nicholson Group’ was formed to recognise his achievements in the town of his birth and to mount an exhibition of his contribution to “watercolour painting in this country”.

There is a small display about Francis Nicholson in the Beck Isle Museum, Pickering where a  coloured illustrated booklet by Colin Coulson maybe purchased or by post £3 from below.

Inquiries about any of above from Nicholson Group, 102 Outgang Road.Pickering YO18 7EL or jhd102@pcxinternet.com   Cheques for booklet Pickering & District Civic Society.

Colin Coulson has now designed a website for Francis Nicholson which you will find here.




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