Winifred Nicholson (b. 1893 in Oxford - d. 1981 in Cumbria), née Winifred Roberts (who early in her career sometimes used the name Winifred Dacre), was an English painter, known as a colourist and for a personal impressionist style concentrating on domestic subjects and landscapes. Often the two are combined in a view out of a window, featuring flowers in a vase or a jug. She was a Christian Scientist.
Her interest in painting started early in her life. Her parents were Charles Roberts, a Liberal Party politician, ex-academic and (through his wife) landowner, and Lady Cecilia, daughter of George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle. George Howard was an accomplished painter as well as a friend and patron of many distinguished painters, including the Pre-Raphaelites and the Etruscan School. Winifred began painting with him at around age 11 (Dacre is an old Howard family name, see Earl of Carlisle). She attended the Byam Shaw Art School. An artist friend from Byam Shaw was Edith Jenkinson (Eejay Hooper), much of whose work was destroyed in bombing in World War II. Kathleen Raine was another friend.
Winifred married the artist Ben Nicholson in 1920. There were three children of the marriage; Kate Nicholson also became an artist. Although it is sometimes said that with Ben, Winifred formed part of the artist colony at St Ives, Cornwall, she was never permanently living there. Although she painted less in the abstract style than in the representational, she did experiment with her own form of abstraction. Influences between her and Ben were mutual, Ben often admitting he learnt much about colour from his first wife. After they separated, she lived during the 1930s in Paris.
After the divorce from Ben Nicholson in 1938, she spent most of the rest of her long life in Cumberland, at Boothby where her father lived and at Banks Head, Banks Village, near Lanercost. She painted prolifically throughout her life, largely at home but also taking trips to Greece and Scotland among other places to do so. Works of hers are at Kettle's Yard, and one is believed to have hung at 10 Downing Street. Later in her life she innovated with striking uses of rainbow and spectrum colours. She left some written accounts of her thoughts on colour.
She supported the Taiwanese artist Li Yuan-chia, who had previously worked in Milan and London, and who was introduced to the area by Wilfrid Roberts's stepson Nick Sawyer. He ran the LYC Museum, close to Banks Head. Significant exhibitions of her works have taken place at the Tate Gallery (1987), at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle, and at the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh ("Winifred Nicholson in Scotland" - 2003).