Letters from Winifred

 

to Ben Nicholson

... I don’t know whether I can introduce you to my good friend Magenta. She’s a person like blue and yellow, not just a transition between wide intervals as you use her – the sort of minor key between two chords that resolves them. She’s a person, very alive and potent and fugitive and transparent. Can you see her on the rainbow’s edge as the colours fade into thunder cloud?...
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to Ben Nicholson

... I wanted to write a long letter about VIOLET – my special pet...
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to Ben Nicholson

...There are several kinds of happiness...I have been extremely lucky – I have had ten years of companionship with an ‘all-time’ painter, working in the medium of classic eternity and that has been better than a lifetime with any second-class person...
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to Ben Nicholson

...Colour light does not mind what kind of space you think of – it is the interpretation of substance and space that colour is dealing with. Fortunately no photo nor even any reproduction will give an idea of what one is after if one follows the rainbow…where does it lead?...
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to Ben Nicholson

...But I adore criticism, I am very grateful for it – I get all too little up here...
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to Kathleen Raine

... conversations should never stop, should they, on that superficial layer of everyday necessity, but attempt to go deeper into our common earth goddess depths – of the underworld, and the upper regions of angel clouds and blue eternity ...
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to Kathleen Raine

... That is like going up into the high heavens to bring down a special pocketful of sunlight for oneself. This is of course my angels talking – and they say that your boys are telling you how to work it out practically ...
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to Ben Nicholson

... it was cheering to feel that people understood what I was attempting – not just portraits of flowers, but the light they convey.
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to Kathleen Raine

When the sun is down and not even a moon, one is all doubt whether it will ever rise again – but it does, of its own self – nothing to do with oneself and all one has to do is to be quick not to miss the next glimpse-through. Each one is so different it's easy to miss them.
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to Jake Nicholson [son]

... All the abstract movement of our time has been a wonderful opening of barriers...
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to Jake Nicholson [son]

... I still can very seldom find that relationship of abstract space shapes in a person – I can find it in the relationship of cloud to flower pot, or mountain peak to nearby shadow, when one does find it, it is the point where painting touches ‘spiritual reality' – the fundamental essence of things, beneath, behind, beyond, and before, visual experience ...
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to Ben Nicholson

... For instance, I have just lately found a relationship between the rainbow scale and the shape scale – and so shape and form have at last and high time too become interesting to me...
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to Jake Nicholson [son]

...This place looks even more beautiful this year in stormy weather, and is even harder to paint. The high mountains shroud themselves and blot themselves out with white cloud, with black cloud, with drifting sunshine. The sea is silver, is black, is azure, is lead, is white with sea horses, is not visible at all...
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to Kathleen Raine

...Two letters from you…It is snowing – has been all last night and all today – the tracks we made in the campus are all obliterated – the turnpike is silent, no cars go out till it stops and the great army of snowploughs marshal out...
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to Andrew Nicholson [son]

...This is the place after my heart. I wonder if you would like it. Not a tree, not a bush. But grey boulders, grey rocks, grey stones, grey mountains, and bog in between. In the bog, lochs with water lilies and rare ferns that love the black peaty soil. The sea full of grey mysterious islands and rocks, seals and seabirds. White glistening beaches and transparent sea all the way across to Eriskay...
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to Jake and Jane Nicholson [son and daughter-in-law]

...We are having a fine time…The sunshine is very wonderful and the colour of everything marvellous. You must both of you come here for your next holiday... 
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to Andrew and Rosemary Nicholson [son and daughter-in-law]

...This hotel is surrounded by lemon trees, madonna lilies, roses in profusion and abundance of every colour and perfume, white vine pergolas, the young tendrils of the vines very pale green against the blue of the sky and the aquamarine of the sky. White fishing town with white Byzantine churches one above the other on the rocks above the harbour where the fishing boats come in...
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