Landscape painter, especially in oil, whose pictures owe much, according to his biographer Frank Rutter, to “diligent study of our own eighteenth-century masters”, having an old-fashioned stillness and high degree of finish. Born in Didsbury, Manchester, Nicholls studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, 1901–4, although he said that it took him some years to unlearn much of what he had been taught there. In 1904 went to Madrid and devoted several months to study of Velasquez, and on his return studied with Fred W Jackson in Yorkshire. Disillusioned with modern art ideas in London, went to Montreuil in 1911 where he met his wife who introduced him to Frank Mura, who painted in Sussex where Nicholls settled, and who “initiated him into the secrets of finer craftsmanship” of the earlier Dutch painters.
Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)