A GROUP of the Friends of Manx National Heritage will be travelling to Venice to research the work of a famous Manx painter of the Victorian era.
John Nicholson (1840-1913) was encouraged by the great John Ruskin to go out to Venice to further his artistic skills. Many of the paintings and sketches that he made in Italy are now in the Manx Museum in Douglas.
Next month, Tony Pass, chairman of the Trustees of Manx National Heritage, will open a major exhibition to coincide with the centenary of Nicholson’s death. It will focus on his artistic work in the Isle of Man, but there will be a number of paintings that he made in Italy between 1882 and 1907.
Mr Pass said: ‘Last year, I gave a lecture on “Nicholson in Venice” at the museum. I suggested that some of the Friends might like to join me on an expedition to the city to look at, and photograph, the places where the artist painted. Twenty-three people signed up, and we are looking forward to a full programme of sightseeing.
‘After the terrible weather that we have experienced on the island, we are hoping for some glorious spring weather, but the last time I looked at the Venice webcam, the city was under snow!’
The John Nicholson Exhibition will open to members of the public on Saturday, March 23, at the Manx Museum.
The best examples of John Nicholson’s magnificent oil and watercolour scenes, together with newspaper accounts and archives, will be used in the exhibition to help tell the story of Mr Nicholson.
His work was exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, and John Ruskin, a leading champion of the Arts and Crafts movement, regularly critiqued his work.
It was on Ruskin’s advice that Mr Nicholson travelled to Italy in 1882, bringing about a significant development in his style.
Despite these credentials, Mr Nicholson is relatively unknown outside the Isle of Man.
The archive of Nicholson’s work will also be available in the iMuseum, Douglas, in March, including watercolours, sketches and photographs.
The Manx Museum is open Monday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm.
The exhibition will be free, but donations would be welcomed.