NICHOLS, Catherine Maude

1847 - 1923

Catherine Maude Nichols

Catherine Maude Nichols, known at Kate, was born at 32 Surrey Street, Norwich on 6 October and baptised at St Stephen's Church, Norwich on 5 November 1847, when her birth date is given as 5 October, eldest child of William Peter Nichols (8 April 1801-22 December 1878), a prison surgeon and owner of a lunatic asylum, of Alpington Hall, just outside Norwich, her mother was Matilda Mary Banister (13 May 1820-13 March 1904), only daughter of Revd John Banister, rector of Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, who married at Kelvedon Hatch on 26 August 1846, their two other children were Alfred Peter and Alice Emilia Sarah, both born in Norwich in 1860. Kate studied with David Hall McEwan (1817-1893), a member of the Royal Society of Watercolour Artists and, aged 27, spent two terms at the Norwich School of Art where she probably learned etching and won a prize in the Advanced Division and most of Kate’s output was dry point engraving. She travelled alone to France and 1876-1878 was at Barbizon school of painters, south of Paris, to join others painting there and in 1879, was in Newlyn, Cornwall amongst painters out of whom the ‘Newlyn Group’ of artists would emerge. Back home in Norwich, Kate was to draw from the countryside around Norwich as well as the urban landscape of the city itself. She exhibited widely and in 1889 she exhibited at the Woodbridge Fine Art Club at the Assembly Room at the Bull Hotel in Woodbridge, Suffolk, several watercolours and between 1877-1908 some of her engravings were shown at the Royal Academy, the first was 'Ber Street, Norwich'. Kate was influenced by the Norwich School painters, whose work had hung in her Surrey Street, Norwich family home and in 1907 she produced a folder of prints ‘After Crome’. The Society (later the Royal Society) of Painter-Etchers was formed in 1880 and two years later Kate submitted a diploma piece, 'Scotch Firs', for which she was elected the first female fellow. Co-founder and president of the Woodpecker Sketch Club, a title she held until her death 34 years later. The Woodpeckers were so named because they chipped away at wooden engraving blocks, in 1927 the Woodpeckers merged with the Norwich Art Circle. She died at Surrey Street, Norwich on 30 January 1923, she was unmarried.

Works by This Artist