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In this work the irregular positioning of the three circles against the textured surface of the board creates the illusion of shallow relief. This spatial illusion is emphasised by painted shadows around the two pale discs and the addition of a red-brown horizontal line.

The board was originally a box lid that Nicholson painted, scraped-back and reworked several times before completion. The hinge screw holes remain visible on the edge of the panel along with an inscription dedicating the work to Nicholson's sister, Nancy.

The Pier Arts Centre





oil on board


H 27.4 x W 32.8 cm

Accession number

PAC 47

Acquisition method

gift from Margaret Gardiner, 1979

Work type


Inscription description

1. '3 circles'. 2. 'from Ben / Margaret / May 47 [with connecting arrows from and to each text]'. 3. exhibition label for Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums (Pier Gallery Collection 1978). 4. exhibition label (artist name and title).


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The Pier Arts Centre

Victoria Street, Stromness, Orkney Islands KW16 3AA Scotland

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