Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/21

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Nicholson
Nicholson
15

of British scenery, obl. fol., 1821, and six views of Scarborough, imp. fol., 1822. Between 1 Aug. 1792 and 2 Nov. 1801 he contributed fourteen drawings to Walker's ‘Copper Plate Magazine.’ Engravings after his works also appeared in the ‘Beauties of England and Wales,’ ‘Havel's Aquatints of Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Seats,’ ‘The Northern Cambrian Mountains,’ fol., 1820, and ‘Facsimiles of Water-colour Drawings,’ published by Bowyer in 1825.

Nicholson was not only an efficient and industrious artist, but interested himself in many other subjects. He had a good knowledge of optics, mechanics, and music. His attainments as a chemist enabled him to make successful experiments in the use of colours which did much to advance water-colour art. He was skilled in organ-building, and during his last years wrote his autobiography. He died at his house, 52 Charlotte Street, Portland Place, 6 March, 1844, aged 90.

Nicholson well deserves the name generally given to him as the ‘Father of Water-colour Painting.’ He advanced that art from mere paper-staining with light tints to the production of a depth of tone and variety of shade and colour that the earlier practitioners of the art never dreamt of. With harmony and beauty of colouring he combined an accurate knowledge of drawing, which made his work popular. In 1837 he painted a portrait of himself, then in his eighty-fifth year, thirty inches by twenty-five inches, which he presented to his brother at Pickering. This is (1894) in the possession of a collateral descendant, Mr. Geo. Wrangham Hardy, who published a short account of Francis Nicholson in the ‘Yorkshire County Magazine,’ April 1891. Mention is also made there of a portrait taken from a lithograph published about 1815.

A daughter, Marianna, in 1830 married Thomas Crofton Croker [q. v.], and apparently exhibited two Scotch landscapes at Spring Gardens in 1815.

A son, Alfred Nicholson (1788–1833), after serving in the royal navy, devoted himself to art. From 1813 to 1816 he was in Ireland, but about 1818 he settled in London, where he practised as an artist and teacher of drawing. In 1821 he made a sketching tour through North Wales and a part of Ireland, and in the following summer visited Guernsey, Jersey, and Yorkshire. His works, which are numerous but generally small in size, are accurately drawn and highly finished, and in style much resemble those of his father.

‘Six Views of Picturesque Scenery in Goathland,’ 1821, and ‘Six Views of Picturesque Scenery in Yorkshire,’ 1822, published at Malton, were the work of George Nicholson (1787–1878), probably Francis's nephew and pupil, who died at Filey, 7 June 1878, in his ninety-first year, and was buried at Old Malton. He was an indefatigable artist, but his pictures never attained any great excellence.

[Roget's History of the Old Water-colour Society, vol. i.; Yorkshire County Mag. 1891; Graves's Dict. of Artists; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the Engl. School; Crofton Croker's Walk from London to Fulham.]

A. N.

NICHOLSON, GEORGE (1760–1825), printer and author, born in 1760, was the son of John Nicholson, bookseller, who removed from Keighley in Yorkshire to Bradford in the same county in 1781, and set up the first printing press in Bradford. George began business with a brother at Bradford about 1784, and afterwards acted on his own account successively at Bradford, Manchester, Poughnill, near Ludlow, and at Stourport in Worcestershire. He possessed great taste and originality as a typographer, and many of the productions of his press, especially those written or edited by himself, although published at a low price, were models of neatness and even of beauty. Many of them were illustrated by pretty vignettes on wood by Thomas Bewick and others, and on copper by Bromley. Some of his first publications at Bradford were chap-books. He produced a series of 125 cards, on which were printed favourite pieces. These cards were sold at a penny and three halfpence each. When he removed to Manchester in 1797, or earlier, he commenced the publication of his ‘Literary Miscellany, or Selections and Extracts, Classical and Scientific, with Originals, in Prose and Verse.’ Each number consisted of a distinct subject, and the whole series extended to about sixty parts, or twenty volumes. Nicholson, who was a convinced vegetarian, died at Stourport on 1 Nov. 1825.

He was author or compiler of the following works: 1. ‘On the Conduct of Man to Inferior Animals,’ Manchester, 1797. 2. ‘On the Primeval Food of Man; Arguments in favour of Vegetable Food,’ Poughnill, 1801. 3. ‘On Food,’ 1803. 4. ‘The Advocate and Friend of Woman.’ 5. ‘The Mental Friend and Rational Companion.’ 6. ‘Directions for the Improvement of the Mind.’ 7. ‘The Juvenile Preceptor, or a Course of Rudimental Reading,’ 1806, 3 vols. 8. ‘Stenography, or a New System of Shorthand,’ Poughnill, 1806. This was written with the assistance of his brother Samuel, schoolmaster, of Manchester. The system is