William Nicholson, Little Cley Hill, Wiltshire Downs near Sutton Veny

Photo courtesy of Caroline True (All rights reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Little Cley Hill, Wiltshire Downs near Sutton Veny
by 1933
Medium and support
Oil on canvas board
Overall height: 30.5 cm, Overall width: 40.5 cm
William Nicholson (1872-1949)
Catalogue Number
  • Inscribed on the back in unknown hand: ‘Salisbury Plain’


Shortly after his wife died in the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918, William Nicholson married Edith Stuart-Wortley and moved to the Old Manor House in the village of Sutton Veny in Wiltshire, where he continued working throughout the 1920s. By this point, Nicholson was a good friend of Lady Frances Horner (1854–1940) and had completed a series of views of Mells and its environs which she reproduced in her memoir, Time Remembered (1933).1 The present landscape features Cley Hill, Wiltshire, the site of an Iron Age hillfort, which lies on the edge of Salisbury Plain, about eight miles south-east of Mells.

 Raymond Asquith recalls: ‘The small sketch of the Wiltshire Downs was later given by Frances Horner, or perhaps by Katharine Asquith, to Katharine’s 2nd daughter Perdita Jolliffe/Hylton. Perdita (my aunt) very kindly gave it to me when I went to university aged 18 (1970), and it has been with me ever since, wherever I have lived, including Moscow & Kiev, returning to the Manor when we moved there in 2012. It now hangs in the Oak Room Passage, near the Oak Room itself’.2

by Devon Cox and Martin Postle


Lillian Browse, William Nicholson, London : Rupert Hart-Davis, 1956, cat. no. 569, entitled Wiltshire Downs near Sutton Veny, n.d.

Patricia Reed, William Nicholson: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, London : Modern Art Press, 2011, cat. no. 693, p. 535


  1. Frances Horner, Time Remembered, London: William Heinemann, 1933.

  2. Raymond Asquith, Earl of Oxford and Asquith, private communication, 6 July 2020.


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