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London Types, by William Nicholson 1897
Original lithograph after the woodcuts, published 1897. Framed
Produced at the end of the 19th century “London Types” hark back to the “Cries of London” produced by Francis Wheatley 100 years earlier.
These graphic woodcuts, using the rough grain side of the block owed much of their style to traditional Japanese printing rather than that of the British. Nicholson portrays the protagonists slightly out of context making them curiosities from another age. The street hawker works in Kensington far from his East End home, a drunken Sandwich-man displays moral texts on his boards, or the fifteenth generation Bluecoat boy at Charterhouse School in Smithfield now moved out to Horsham.
Working in partnership with his brother-in-law James Pryde, under the pseudonym the Beggarstaff Brothers, Nicholson enjoyed a successful career creating graphics during the advertising boom that happened in the eighteen nineties.
Nicholson married Mabel Pryde, also an artist, in 1893, then after 1900 he concentrated on painting and was knighted in 1936. His son Ben Nicholson went on to become one of the most celebrated artists of the mid-20th century