Born Rosa Winifred Roberts, 21 December in Oxford. Her parents were Charles Henry Roberts, Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, and Lady Cecilia Maude Roberts.

Her grandfather was the painter, George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle; a member of the Etruscans, close friend of Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, and Chairman of the Trustees of the National Gallery. Her grandmother, Rosalind Howard, the Countess of Carlisle, was actively involved in several movements, including the Liberal Party, women’s suffrage and the temperance movement.

Childhood spent between Cumberland, Yorkshire and London.


Birth of her sister, Christina Henrietta Roberts.


Birth of her brother, Wilfrid Hubert Wace Roberts.


Father elected Liberal MP for Lincoln. He held the seat until 1918, and from 1922-3 was MP for Derby.


Grandfather, George Howard, dies. Rosalind Howard gives Winifred his paints.


Attends Byam Shaw School of Art in London and continues to study there during the First World War.


Exhibits at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, a watercolour Lincoln Cathedral (Prior Wimbush’s Tomb, Lincoln Cathedral).


Exhibits at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Monastery, Abingdon.

As war work she makes plaster casts for artificial limbs.

Late 1919 – early 1920

Travels to India, Ceylon and Burma with her sister and father, who had been Under-Secretary of State for India 1914-15, and had served on the Montagu-Chelmsford Commission.


Meets Ben Nicholson at Boar’s Hill, Oxford, and they travel and paint together in Tippaccott, Devon and Polperro, Cornwall. They marry 5th November, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London and honeymoon tour Italy looking at paintings. They buy Villa Capriccio, Castagnola, above Lake Lugano in the Italian Swiss Alps.


Rosalind Howard, Winifred’s grandmother, dies.


Winifred and Ben spend each winter at Villa Capriccio, returning, via Paris, to London and Cumberland for the summers.


January: David Bomberg comes to stay at Villa Capriccio for a fortnight.

October: exhibits with the London Group at the Mansard Gallery, London. During her life time she exhibits in over 200 group exhibitions.


May – June: Winifred and Ben exhibit together at the Wm. B. Paterson Gallery, London. Late 1923 they buy a house in Cumberland, Bankshead. After they had made alterations move in May 1924.


July: Paul Nash comes to stay at Bankshead.


Winifred elected a member of the Seven and Five Society; she exhibits with the Society at all the remaining exhibitions till it closes in 1935. Summer: Ivon Hitchins comes to stay at Bankshead for two months. Meets the collector, Helen Sutherland in London.


Towards the end of the year Winifred and Ben meet Christopher Wood in London and Ben invites him to become a member of the Seven and Five Society. At the end of the year they meet H.S. (Jim) Ede (founder of Kettle’s Yard).


April – May: her first solo exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery, London, which runs concurrently with an exhibition with works by Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood, and the potter William Staite Murray.

While hanging the exhibition Winifred falls through a trapdoor and seriously injures her back, which was complicated by her being pregnant. She is taken to hospital and it is thought she will not recover. However, she recovers sufficiently, due to help from a Christian Science practitioner, to visit her exhibition before it closes.

June: first child born Jacob (Jake) in London.


March – April: Christopher Wood visits Bankshead.

April: Winifred exhibits Window-Sill, Lugano at the Venice Biennale.

July: joint show at the Lefevre Gallery, London with Ben and William Staite Murray.

July – September: Winifred and Ben stay at Feock, Cornwall.

Christopher Wood joins them in mid-August. Ben and Wood take a day trip to St.Ives and discover the primitive painter Alfred Wallis.

September – October: Nicholsons and Wood stay in St.Ives. Wood is joined by Frosca Munster.

The Nicholsons spend Christmas with William Nicholson, Ben’s father, at Sutton Veny, Wiltshire.


March: 9th Seven and Five exhibition at Tooth’s Gallery shows pictures by Winifred, Ben, Christopher Wood and Alfred Wallis from their recent trip to Cornwall.

July: second child Kate born at Bankshead.


March – April: solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, London.

May: Christopher Wood shares his exhibition at the Galerie Georges Bernheim, with Ben, and the family travels to Paris.

August 21st Christopher Wood dies.


July: third child Andrew born at Bankshead.

In the autumn Ben leaves and moves to London, where he starts living with the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, although he keeps in regular contact with Winifred and their children. They correspond regularly until the end of Winifred’s life.

Winifred and her three children stay at Fishbourne, Isle of Wight, where they stay until February – March of the next year.


Spring: moves with her children to Par, Cornwall, where she sees Frances Hodgkins.

Autumn: moves to Paris, where she lives at 48 Quai d’Auteuil.


While living in Paris she meets many of the artists living there, including Piet Mondrian, Jean Hélion, Naum Gabo, Hans Hartung, Alberto Giacometti, Constantin Brancusi, Cesar Domela, Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Hans Erni, Jean Arp.

She begins to paint abstract paintings.

Visits René and Alison Leplat, Villa Alerta, Cannes and the painter Jean Hugo at Mas de Fourques, Lunel in the Garigue.

In Paris she helps with a small Montessori school for young children.

Winifred and the children spend the summers in Cumberland.


August: holidays at Seahouses, on the Northumberland coast, where she and the children are joined by Ben.

November: Winifred and the children in Paris visited by Ben.


April - October: exhibits 8 pictures at the XIX Venice Biennale.

Spends the summer in Cumberland.

October: Ben and Barbara Hepworth’s triplets are born.

Winifred and her children spend Christmas in Paris and Ben comes to visit. They go to see Mondrian.


February: first visit to the painter Jean Hugo’s house, Mas de Fourques.

March: Ben comes to visit in Paris, and they go to see Kandinsky.

October: Exhibits two abstract pictures at the 14th Seven and Five exhibition at the Zwemmer Gallery. Ben is keen to avoid confusion and she exhibits under an old family name, Dacre.

November: Wilfrid becomes Liberal MP for Cumberland North, and holds the seat until 1950.


June – July: solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, London.


Winifred writes an article entitled ‘Unknown Colour’, (under the name Winifred Dacre), in Circle, International Survey of Constructive Art, edited by J.L. Martin, Ben Nicholson, and Naum Gabo.

July: exhibits four abstract pictures at the London Gallery in an Exhibition of Constructivist Art (under the name Winifred Dacre).

September: first article devoted solely to the artist published in The Artist, by Alexander Watt, with 4 illustrations.

October: a ‘constructive’ fabric design she made for Alistair Morton’s Edinburgh Weavers, (under the name Winifred Dacre), shown in the London showroom of Edinburgh Weavers, along with others.

Exhibits 3 pictures at the New English Art Club’s 88th annual exhibition, and becomes a member.


Spends the summer in England with her children.

September: returns to Paris alone to close the flat, and encourages Piet Mondrian to come to London with her by train, away from impending war.

November: Winifred and Ben divorce. (He marries Barbara Hepworth soon after).


Moves to her parents’ house, Boothby, Cumberland, which remains her home until 1959. Her father, Charles Roberts was Chairman of Cumberland County Council 1938-58.

Winifred farms, keeps goats and bees, and runs a small school for local children.

Window-sill, Lugano enters The Tate Gallery, presented by the Contemporary Art Society.


July: solo exhibition at Tullie House, Carlisle (38 pictures)


December: her article, ‘Liberation of Colour’, (under the name Winifred Dacre) published in the World Review.


Visits Ireland.

April: exhibits 40 pictures at the Lefevre Gallery.

Travels in France with her children.


Spring: visits Vera Moore with Kate, who lived on the river Cher, central France.

Lady Cecilia Roberts, Winifred’s mother, dies at Boothby.


May: visits Paris and Jean Hugo at Mas de Fourques.

July: solo exhibition at Tullie House, Carlisle (63 pictures).

August: visits the Hebrides for the first time, staying at Flodigarry, Skye with her children.

Meets the poet Kathleen Raine and begins a long working friendship.


February: exhibits 6 pictures in Six Painters at Agnews, and the British Council purchases Midsummer Eve. It is included with two other pictures by her in Eleven British Artists, a British Council touring show to Australia.

March – April: visits Venice.

May: exhibits 24 paintings at the Lefevre Gallery.

June: visits Treanlaur, Ireland.

October: exhibits in the Annual Exhibition of Local Art at Tullie House; continues to exhibit there regularly until 1979.

Taught a short course at Corsham, Bath Academy of Art.

Winifred organises the unveiling of the Evie Hone window in memory of her late mother Lady Cecilia Roberts at Lanercost Priory, Cumberland.


Winifred and Kathleen Raine make the first of many trips to the Hebrides. They visit Eigg, South Uist and Barra.

September: visits Cardigan Bay, Wales.

December: exhibits Japanese Anemones and Prism at the Carnegie Institute Exhibition, Pittsburgh.


Commissioned by the Arts Council to paint a large picture for their exhibition, 60 paintings for ‛51’ , and paints Fowls that Fly in the Firmament.

Winifred later destroyed the picture.

Easter: visits Venice.

Stays with Kathleen Raine at Sandaig, Gavin Maxwell’s house near Glenelg with views out to the Hebrides.


February: exhibits 26 pictures at Lefevre Gallery.

May: visits Sandaig with Kathleen Raine.

July: visits Brittany with her daughter Kate, where she sees the dolmens at Carnac.


Visits Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

March: solo exhibition at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh (47 pictures).

June: visits the Hebrides and Orkney.

September: visits Chartres and Beauvais Cathedrals, and then Jean Hugo at Mas de Fourques, and Cadaques, Northern Spain.


February: exhibits 29 pictures at the Leicester Galleries.

Also that month organises an exhibition of paintings by her grandfather, George Howard, at Leighton house, London.

Easter: visit to Holland.


April – May: trip to Majorca with her daughter Kate.

March: exhibits The Hunter’s Moon and The Seasons, at a Contemporary Arts Society Exhibition at the Tate Gallery.


August: visits the Basque area, Spain.


April: visits County Mayo, Ireland.


June: Charles Roberts, Winifred’s father, dies at Boothby. Shortly after Winifred moves back to Bankshead.


April: visits Greece, with her daughter Kate. In the 1960’s Winifred and Kate make regular trips to Greece, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. They often stayed at Hotel Belle Helene at Mycenae, but travelled extensively in Greece. However they mostly kept away when the ‘Colonels’ came were in power (1967-74).

About this time begins commissioning local rug makers to make ‘hookie’ rugs and designs some herself.


Oct. – Nov: exhibits 3 pictures (2 as by Winifred Dacre) in British Art and the Modern Movement 1930-40, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.


September: solo exhibition ‘Wild Flowers in Greece’ at the Redfern Gallery, (64 pictures).

Winter: visits New York, Connecticut, and Puerto Rico.


March: exhibits 6 pictures in Art in Britain 1930-40 centred around Axis, Circle, and Unit One at the Marlborough Gallery, London (under the name Winifred Dacre).


March: solo exhibition at the Crane Kalman Gallery, London (30 pictures). The Crane Kalman Gallery becomes her main London dealer with all her subsequent London solo exhibitions there.


Visits Italy, Sicily, and Corfu.


February: solo exhibition, The Flowers of Winifred Nicholson at the Crane Kalman Gallery, (32 pictures).

May: retrospective exhibition at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal (37 pictures).

December: visit to Tunisia with Kate.


Paints in St.Ives, Cornwall.

December: exhibits 12 pictures in Helen Sutherland Collection, the exhibition toured to the Hayward Gallery, London; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal (to May 1971).


Spring: paints in Morocco with Kate, visiting Marrakesh, Rabat, Chechovan, Sidi Bonsaid and the Barbary Coast.

Winifred encourages and helps the Chinese artist Li Yuan-Chia to open a gallery on the Banks. The LYC Museum and Art Gallery lasts till 1982, and Winifred exhibits there four times.


February: solo exhibition at Crane Kalman Gallery, (38 pictures).

November: solo exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (approximately 41 pictures).


Spring: paints in Mycenae, Greece.


November: solo exhibition at Crane Kalman Gallery, London (34 pictures).

December: solo exhibition, Paintings 1930-1974 at LYC Museum and Art Gallery.


Meets the physicist Glen Schaefer who gives her prisms. Begins painting prismatic pictures.

October: solo exhibition of abstract works mostly from the 1930’s, An Unknown Aspect of Winifred Nicholson at Crane Kalman Gallery, London (30 pictures).

Tate Gallery purchases two abstract works, Quarante-Huite Quai d’Auteuil, and Moonlight and Lamplight.


January: solo exhibition at LYC Museum and Art Gallery (33 pictures, including abstracts).

Flower Tales, a book of stories that flowers tell by Winifred is published by LYC Press in a limited edition of 500 with colour illustrations of her flower paintings.


May – June: travels to Ouranoupoli, near Mount Athos, Greece with daughter Kate and grandson Jovan Nicholson.

July: exhibits at LYC Museum and Art Gallery with Mary Newcomb.

September: Scottish Arts Council Retrospective exhibition of 72 pictures begins in Edinburgh. Organised by the Third Eye Centre it travels to Tullie House, Carlisle; Third Eye Centre, Glasgow; The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tune; The Minories, Colchester; and the Penwith, St.Ives. However, the exhibition does not include any of her recent prismatic pictures.


May: paints in Eigg, Hebrides, with Kate. Joined for the first week by the artist Donald Wilkinson and his family; and for the second by the artists Valerie Thornton and her husband Michael Chase.


5 March: dies at home.

24 March - April: Recent Paintings exhibition opens at Crane Kalman Gallery, London, the first showing of her prismatic pictures (approximately 39 pictures).