Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/20

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Nicholson
Nicolson
14

with spreading false doctrine, and he was ordered to recant. This, however, he declined to do, and his name was reported to the bishop, ‘to stop his preference.’ On the accession of James II he avowed himself a Roman catholic, and became an ardent champion of his adopted church. He attempted in vain to persuade John Hudson of University College to become an adherent of the king (Hearne). In 1688 he wrote an appendix to Abraham Woodhead's ‘Discourse on the Eucharist,’ entitled ‘The Doctrine of the Church of England concerning the substantial Presence and Adoration of our B. Saviour in the Eucharist asserted,’ &c. On the deposition of James II in 1688 Nicholson joined the English College of Carthusians at Niewport in the Netherlands, but the austerities of their rule obliged him about four years afterwards to leave the order, and he returned to England. Thence he shortly proceeded to Lisbon, in the service of Queen Catherine, widow of Charles II. He spent some years at the Portuguese court, formed a close intimacy with the heads of the English College at Lisbon, and afterwards retired to an estate which he had purchased at Pera, a suburb of Constantinople.

About 1720 he conveyed the whole of his property to the Lisbon College on the understanding that his debts should be paid, and that board and lodging, besides a sum of 12l. a year, should be allowed him for life. He died at the college on 13 Aug. 1731, aged nearly 81.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 449; Jones's Chetham Popery Tracts (Chetham Soc.), ii. 359; Hearne's Collections (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), i. 404, ii. 61, 93; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. vol. iv., manuscript, from extract kindly communicated by the author; Manchester Cathedral Reg.]

C. W. S.

NICHOLSON, FRANCIS (1753–1844), painter in water-colours, born on 14 Nov. 1753 at Pickering in Yorkshire, was son of Francis Nicholson, a weaver. After receiving a good education in his native town, the boy, who was first destined by his father to become a tailor, was placed with an artist at Scarborough for instruction. After a three years' residence there he returned to Pickering, where for two years he occupied himself in painting portraits and pictures of horses, dogs, and game for local patrons. Seven months' study followed in London, under a German artist named Metz, who was an efficient figure-painter. Returning to Yorkshire, he increased his practice by taking views about the houses and estates of the gentry. After nine more months of study in London he again returned to Pickering, and probably about this time began his practice in water-colour.

In 1783 he removed to Whitby, and was at first chiefly employed in painting portraits. But the beauty of the Mulgrave Woods induced him to devote himself to landscape, and during the next nine years he gradually made a reputation by selling his drawings in Scarborough during the season, as well as in London. He practised a method of reproducing his views by etching on a soft ground and taking impressions with black lead. In 1789 he first sent drawings to the London exhibitions.

About 1792 he left Whitby for Knaresborough, where he resided three years, and found many patrons in Harrogate. With Sir Henry Tuite he spent some time each year, sketching in his company. Another patron, Lord Bute, not only bought many drawings, but commissioned him to make a set of sketches of the island of Bute. Accordingly, in 1794 he made an extensive tour through Bute and the districts round. On his return to Yorkshire he removed, in 1798, to Ripon. Sir Henry Tuite induced him in 1800 to settle near him at Weybridge, and shortly afterwards he purchased No. 10 Titchfield Street, London, where for many years he carried on a very large practice as an artist and a teacher of drawing.

Nicholson was one of the ten artists who on 30 Nov. 1804 joined together to form the Society of Painters in Water-colours. Of this society he was a member, and he was a very large contributor to its exhibitions till its dissolution in 1812. The Society of Painters in Oil and Water-colours was immediately started on its collapse, and of the new society Nicholson was elected president; but in 1813 he resigned his office and severed his connection with the society. He was specially permitted to exhibit as a member in the following year, but after that date his name does not again appear in their catalogues. He was also a contributor to an exhibition of ‘paintings in water-colours,’ being represented in 1814 by twenty-one works, and in its final exhibition of 1815 by three works. Between 1789 and 1833 he exhibited with the Society of Artists six works, with the Royal Academy eleven, and at Suffolk Street one.

Nicholson published in 1820 ‘The Practice of Drawing and Painting Landscapes from Nature in Water-colours,’ London. The book passed quickly through several enlarged editions. Profiting by the newly invented art of lithography, he executed several hundred drawings on stone, which he used as drawing copies. Of his lithographs may be mentioned eighty-one sketches