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William Nicholas

1807 - 1854

'the best portrait painter of watercolours in the Colony'

Watercolourist, etcher and lithographer was born in Camberwell Grove, near London in 1807. Nicholas arrived in Sydney on 25 February 1836 onboard the ROSLYN CASTLE and was soon in demand as a portrait artist of the colonies social and professional elite.

In the 1840s Nicholas produced a number of plain and coloured lithographs. In January 1842, he set himself up as a 'miniature painter on ivory and in watercolours, lithographer and draughtsman'.

Nicholas first took an active part in Sydney's early art exhibitions entering seven works in the 'First Exhibition of the Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Australia' in 1847.

In 1854, Nicholas purchased a farm at Kurnell - a possible indication of a change in career - but did not live long enough to enjoy his new life. He died in June 1854, and his widow sold the farm and moved to New England.