Saturday, August 14, 2021

Andrew Nicholl

Andrew Nicholl
Andrew Nicholl (1804-1886) was an Irish artist and illustrator who is considered the first professional painter to work in Sri Lanka during the British Period (Dharmasiri, 1990).

Early life
Andrew Nicholl was born on 4 April 1804 in Church Lane, Belfast in Northern Ireland as the second son of a boot and shoemaker (Rambukwella, 2014). In his early twenties, Nicholl made his reputation as a landscape painter and in the 1830s he went to London and Dublin where he executed topographical works. In 1837 he joined Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and became a full R.H.A. by 1860. 
 
Life in Sri Lanka
Nicholl came to Sri Lanka in 1846 as a teacher of landscape drawing, painting, scientific drawing and design to the School of Design at the Colombo Academy (Dharmasiri, 1990; Rambukwella, 2014). At there he became a friend of Sir James Emerson Tennent (1804-1869) the Colonial Secretary of Ceylon from 1846 to 1850 (Dharmasiri, 1990). In 1848 Nicholl toured through the interior of the country with Tennent and this tour was published in the "Dublin University Magazine" in 1852. His life in Sri Lanka as a painter was ended in late 1849.

Death
After returning from Sri Lanka to Europe, Nicholl lived in London, Dublin and Belfast. He died on 16 April 1886 at the age of 82 (Rambukwella, 2014).

Paintings at Colombo Museum
The National Museum of Colombo possesses a collection of watercolours (28 paintings) by Nicholl (Rambukwella, 2014). They had been gifted to the museum on 22 July 1949 by Paul E. Peiris who received them from the daughter of Nicholl (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018). At the time, the paintings were in a bad condition due to long exposure to light. However, with the help of a team from the British Museum, the paintings were conserved (Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018).

    1) Lankatilaka, Polonnaruwa
    2) Stone steps, Mihintale
    3) Ramboda falls and Monaragala
    4) Minneriya tank
    5) Lotuses in Colombo Lake
    6) Mutwal, Colombo
    7) Colombo from Mutwal
    8) Colombo
    9) Convolvulus and Rotunda
    10) Convolvulus and Rotunda
    11) Kandy across lake
    12) Peradeniya valley from Kandy
    13) Galle
    14) Galle
    15) Dambulla Vihara entance
    16) Vatadage, Polonnaruwa
    17) Dambulla entrance
    18) Gal-Vihara, Polonnaruwa
    19) Abhayagiriya Dagaba, Anuradhapura
    20) Thuparama, Anuradhapura
    21) Elephant Kraal, Alligator Pool
    22) Elephant Kraal, a captive
    23) Kraal returning from watering
    24) Ban Yan tree, Mount Lavinia
    25) Kayman’s gate and Belfry
    26) Kayman’s gate, Pettah
    27) Street in Pettah
    28) Bridge of boats Kelani Ganga
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References
1) Dharmasiri, A., 1990. Section V: Painting Modern Period (1815-1950). Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series; Vol. V. Painting. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). p.121.
2) Prematilaka, L., Hewage, R., 2018. A guide to the National Museum, Colombo: Department of National Museum. ISBN: 978-955-578-035-3. pp.48-51. 
3) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). pp.398-399.

This page was last updated on 15 August 2021
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