1893 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.
1895 Birth of her sister, Christina Henrietta Roberts.
1900 Birth of her brother, Wilfrid Hubert Wace Roberts.
1906 Father elected Liberal MP for Lincoln. He held the seat until 1918, and from 1922-3 was MP for Derby.
1911 Grandfather, George Howard, dies. Rosalind Howard gives Winifred his paints.
1912 Attends Byam Shaw School of Art in London and continues to study there during the First World War.
1914 Exhibits at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, a watercolour Lincoln Cathedral (Prior Wimbush’s Tomb, Lincoln Cathedral)
1916 Exhibits at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Monastery, Abingdon.
As war work she makes plaster casts for artificial limbs.
Late1919 – 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.
1920 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.
1921 Rosalind Howard, Winifred’s grandmother, dies.
1921-23 Winifred and Ben spend each winter at Villa Capriccio, returning, via Paris, to London and Cumberland for the summers.
1922 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.
1923 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.
1924 July: Paul Nash comes to stay at Bankshead.
1925 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.
1926 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).
1927 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.
1928 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.
1929 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.
1930 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.
1931 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.
1932 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.
1932-8 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.
1933 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.
1934 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.
1935 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.
1936 June – July: solo exhibition at the Leicester Galleries, London.
1937 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.
1938 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).
1940 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.
1941 July: solo exhibition at Tullie House, Carlisle (38 pictures)
1944 December: her article, ‘Liberation of Colour’, (under the name Winifred Dacre) published in the World Review.
1946 Visits Ireland.
April: exhibits 40 pictures at the Lefevre Gallery
Travels in France with her children.