Christopher Nicholson

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For the South African judge and cricketer, see Christopher Robert Nicholson.

Christopher "Kit" David George Nicholson[1] (1904-1948) was a leading British architect and designer of the early Modern Movement in Britain. His most notable works of the 1930s were comparable to the advanced modern abstract style of his older brother, the artist Ben Nicholson.

Early life and education[edit]

Kit Nicholson was the fourth child of the artists William Nicholson and Mabel Pryde. His siblings were the celebrated painter Ben (1894–1982); Anthony (1897–1918), who died of wounds in France during the First World War; and Annie Mary "Nancy" (1899–1978), artist and wife of the poet Robert Graves.[2] Kit Nicholson was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, from 1917 to 1922, and then read architecture at St. John's College, Cambridge.


After graduation, Nicholson taught at the Cambridge School of Architecture, where one of his pupils was Hugh Casson. They later went into partnership together in an architectural firm.

Through his major projects of the 1930s, Nicholson contributed to the development of Modernism in Great Britain. His style in some ways reflected the abstract art of his brother Ben Nicholson.

In 1931 Nicholson married Elsie Queen Myers, best known as the fabric designer EQ Nicholson. His wife assisted in the office he ran with Casson.

In the late 1940s, he designed aeroplane livery, and radio and television sets.[citation needed]

A gliding enthusiast, Nicholson died at age 44 on 28 July 1948 in a gliding accident in Italy.[3][4]

Legacy and honors[edit]

In 1988 an exhibition in York showed Nicholson's work beside that of his brother, his sister and his wife.[5] In 1994, the Royal Institute of British Architects acquired his complete collection of drawings, records and photographs for the Drawings Collection of the British Architectural Library.[6] A selection was reproduced by Neil Bingham in Christopher Nicholson (1996), from the early projects through to his major buildings such as Augustus John's studio and the London Gliding Club.


  1. ^ Elissa Arnesen. "Tim Nicholson Collection: A holding of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Starsmore Center for Local History". Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, 2002. Accessed March 2012.
  2. ^ Colin Campbell, Merlin James, Patricia Reed and Sanford Schwartz (2004). The Art of William Nicholson. London: Royal Academy of Arts. ISBN 1903973449. p. 164–65.
  3. ^ Philip Aubrey Wills. On being a bird. London: Max Parrish, 1953.
  4. ^ Neil Bingham (editor). Christopher Nicholson Royal Institute of British Architects Drawings Monographs No. 4. London: Academy Editions, 1996. ISBN 978-1-85490-445-4. pp. 6–11.
  5. ^ The Nicholsons, a story of four people and their designs: Ben Nicholson, 1894-1982; Nancy Nicholson, 1899-1977; Kit Nicholson, 1904-1948; E.Q. Nicholson, born 1908. York City Art Gallery, 1988. ISBN 978-0-903281-06-5. p. 59.
  6. ^ Major Accessions to Repositories 1994 relating to Architecture. The National Archives. Accessed March 2012.

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