Portrait of Walter Greaves

Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson, 1872 - 1949

Portrait of Walter Greaves

Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson 1872 - 1949


Full length, three-quarter right side portrait of the artist Walter Greaves, dressed in a long coat and top hat. He is standing against a white grand piano, with a framed landscape painting at his feet resting against the side of the piano. A cane and a selection of paintbrushes are placed behind him on top of the piano, accompanied by other items including a gilt frame, various coloured papers and a white scroll of paper. Further frames rest on the wall in the background, as well as notepaper pinned up on the neutral wall in the background.

Display Label

Walter Greaves 1917 (removed from display) William Nicholson 1846-1930 Oil on canvas Greaves was a Thames boatman turned painter who had been a studio assistant to Nicholson, washing the artist's brushes and preparing his canvases. He had also performed these jobs for Whistler, who lived in London from 1859 to 1892. Whistler's ideas influenced both Greaves and Nicholson, in emphasising surface pattern ahead of narrative in art. This approach was informed by Impressionist paintings and Japanese prints which could be seen in Paris. Here Greaves stands by a Whistlerian picture of his own amid the fashionable clutter of Nicholson's London studio. He adopted the dress of his Aesthetic Movement friends but in reality was impoverished by 1917. Purchased 1925.68

Object Name

Portrait of Walter Greaves

Date Created



canvas: 190.5cm x 143cm
frame (approx dimensions): 221cm x 171.5cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint

On Display

[G18] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 18
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