William Nicholson, Elm Tree and Church

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Elm Tree and Church
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 40.5 cm, Overall width: 33 cm
William Nicholson (1872-1949)
Catalogue Number
  • Signed lower left (sgraffito) and lower right (painted) ‘N’


The principal focus of the present composition is a large elm tree, which no longer exists, as it was felled during the 1970s. To the left is the parish church of St Andrew. The view in the painting looks south-east, although Nicholson has taken liberties with the actual topography, having placed the high wall along the Manor House entrance drive, inaccurately, in the same plane as Lutyens’s summer house, which appears at the extreme left of the composition. Also, in reality, the elm tree was not near the church but at least four hundred yards away in a field.1 In the left foreground the shadow of the artist at his easel can be discerned on the grass.

by Martin Postle


Lillian Browse, William Nicholson, London : Rupert Hart-Davis, 1956, p. 331, entitled View of a Church Tower and a Tree

Sanford Schwartz, William Nicholson, New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 2004, p. 152, illustrated in colour

Patricia Reed, William Nicholson: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, London : Modern Art Press, 2011, cat. no. 577, p. 459


  1. Raymond Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith, private communication, 17 July 2020.


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