Nelson Ethelred Dawson (1859–1941) was an English artist and member of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Dawson was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire and educated at Stamford School. He moved to London, where he operated his workshop first from Chelsea and in due course from the rear of his townhouse in Chiswick. He exhibited his art throughout England including at the Royal Academy and was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers.
As a potter, watercolour painter, jeweller, silversmith, metalworker, etcher, print-maker and writer on artistic subjects, his reputation has probably suffered because he spread his talents too thinly. Nevertheless, both the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum hold collections of his work and papers. He married Edith Robinson in 1893 and together with his wife, he was one of the key figures in the jewellery of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Edith learned enamelling from her husband who had been taught by Alexander Fisher, a master enameller who in turn had learned his craft in France. Together, they revived the Renaissance practice of enamelling in their jewellery.
The bronze organ grill in Holy Trinity church, Sloane Street, Chelsea (described by Poet Laureate, John Betjeman as the "Cathedral of the Arts & Crafts Movement") is Dawson’s work and it takes its place beside treasures by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Other commissions included a trowel and mallet used by Queen Victoria in her last public appearance, laying the foundation stone of the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1899, the casket presented to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson on his visit to England en route to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, lavish bath fittings for Viscount Hambleden in copper and silver, and the gates of Hull Guildhall.
He is noted for his maritime scenes. In 1910 he made a visit to the Étaples art colony.
Dawson left many of his pictures to Stamford School but although a number of etchings and watercolours still decorate the walls of the school, not all were stored or displayed properly and some canvasses were even painted over by pupils.
- Douglas, Walter Some Happenings. Unpublished manuscript. (Available from the Stamford School Archive).
Further reading 
- Nelson and Edith Dawson, silversmiths and decorative artists: Victoria & Albert Museum papers, 1822-1939. AAD/1987/7, AAD/1988/8, AAD/1991/9, AAD/1992/4
- Georgetown University Art Collection - 2009 Exhibition "Etched by the Sea, Marine Views of Nelson Dawson"
- Short magazine article with some images
- Lincs to the Past website