Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Granny Ann

An oil painting by Roger Nicholson of my grandmother Ann
Oil painting by Roger Nicholson of my Grandmother Ann

I have been rooting about in the folios where I keep my father Roger Nicholson's loose sketches and paintings, and some flat oil paintings. This one appeared of my grandmother Ann, then in her 70's when I was just a small child of six maybe. She does appear very severe as many women of that generation could be and obviously took the whole process of having her portrait painted by her youngest son very seriously. She had six children in all, my aunts, Olive and Nina, and my uncles, Jack, Jim, Robert and Roger my father. It was Robert and Roger who were the bright young things in the 1950s in the textile world, designing beautiful wallpapers and fabrics. Some seen below which are now in the V&A archives where I put some of them for safe keeping after he died in 1986
from designs made by my father for wallpapers or furnishing fabrics

Granny Ann ... Things I remember ... her making wonderful sardine sandwiches and battenburg cake for tea in fluted tea cups on a tray ...  I remember allowing me to riffle through her button box for hours and sit beside her in the sunshine outside her front door while the bees bussed about in the furry irises there, how she disapproved of me saying "yeah" as she was so very English and would rather I had said Yes! Though she lived when her children were small in a corrugated iron hut in the Australian outback where she had gone to be with her husband, and found herself bringing up her six children amongst the spiders and huge ants (my father loved telling me stories about the black Joe's and white Joe's and how they would pitch the two ant rivals in battles, as small boys) with the sun shining piercing swords of burning light through the holes in the corrugated iron roof of their hut ....
But when she came back to England with her youngest children she took pride in her Englishness, her soft white complexion which she powdered to enhance which highlighted the fine soft hairs on her cheeks ... She died at 93 I think ... it was a while back now

Furnishing Fabric by Roger Nicholson 1951
Furnishing fabric 1951

Furnishing Fabric by Roger Nicholson 1951
1951 Furnishing fabric

1960 Wallpaper by Roger Nicholson designed for Palladio

1960 Wallpaper by Roger Nicholson designed for Palladio
This Wallpaper was in my sister Naomi's room ...

1 comment:

  1. I think its a lovely portrait. Grannies nowdays arent the same as they were then. I have pictures of mine and they look the same - severe yet soft.
    Helen xx