Still-life subjects preoccupied Ben Nicholson throughout his life, an interest he had inherited from his father, the artist William Nicholson, along with a substantial collection of glasses, goblets, jugs and mugs. In this painting, the table has been tilted up to show all the objects and to emphasise their flatness. This and the use of lettering owe something to the Cubism of Braque and Picasso whose work Nicholson would have seen in Paris during visits to France in the 1920s.

The word ‘bocque’, written in yellow across the top of the painting , has no meaning in French and might have been intended solely as a pictorial device or pattern, or perhaps it might have been part of the word ‘Bouquet’, the name of a brand of mustard, or even a pun on ‘bock’ (beer glass).


  • Title: 1932 (Bocque)
  • Creator: Ben Nicholson
  • Date Created: 1932
  • Physical Dimensions: 48 x 78.5cm
  • Rights: Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS.
  • Medium: oil on board

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