The framed oil on canvas, The Yellow Jersey, shows a young woman, thought to be Nicholson’s only daughter, Annie Mary ‘Nancy’ (1899-1978), in an ostrich plume hat. It was included in Callan’s Fine Traditional and Contemporary Art Sale, at the Trump Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire.
Signed and dated 1913, this oil had been exhibited at Nicholson’s second show in the Goupil Galleries, London, in 1918 and again in Liverpool in 1927. Bearing labels for both, it came for sale from a deceased estate in Scotland.
Estimated at £12,000-18,000, the picture was catalogued ‘in very good condition’ with only minor cracking around the left side of the face and the right hand side of the head.
Ten potential buyers – eight from the London trade – arranged phone bids. Amid competition in the room, online and on the phone, two determined bidders fought it out until the painting was knocked down to a member of the London trade.
It is a strong result for a Nicholson, whose highest price at auction, according to the Art Sales Index, stands at the premium-inclusive £265,250 bid at Christie’s in 2011 for a still-life.
The same source lists his Young Woman in White as his highest-selling portrait to date. It went for the same price, £150,000, at Sotheby’s London in 1998.
Nancy Nicholson – who married the poet Robert Graves in 1918 – was also an artist and fabric designer.