Nicholson, Nicholas B. A.
NICHOLSON, Nicholas B. A.
Born in New York, NY. Education: Kenyon College, B.A., 1991.
Agent—(film and television) Charlotte Sheedy, Sheedy Literary Agency, 65 Bleecker St., New York, NY 10012; (literary) c/o Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. E-mail—[email protected]
Christie's (auction house), New York, NY, 1993-99, began as a graduate trainee in French and Continental furniture, became a specialist in Russian department; "Jewels of the Romanovs: Treasures from the Russian Imperial Court" (exhibition), American coordinating curator, 1997-99; Circline (online art advisory service), staff member, 1999-2002; consultant and lecturer, 2002—.
1832 Society (chair).
Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog (for children), illustrated by Cynthia von Buhler, Viking (New York, NY), 1998.
Object of Virtue (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
An historical novel.
Nicholas B. A. Nicholson was a specialist in Russian art, and particularly the work of Fabergé, while working at Christie's in New York City, and acted as curator for the exhibit "Jewels of the Romanovs: Treasures from the Russian Imperial Court," which featured pieces from five of Russia's grandest museums and toured five American cities from 1997 to 1999. Nicholson has since become an advisor to private collectors and lectures on Fabergé and Russian topics. He has been a member of many cultural groups, including as a supporter of the Museum of Modern Folk Art, the New York Public Library, the Hermitage, and others. As chair of the 1832 Society, he works for the preservation and promotion of the Merchant's House Museum, a Federal-period home complete with furnishings by such craftsmen as Duncan Phyfe.
Nicholson's first book, Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, is a children's story set in 1830s New York. The narrator is the youngest child of a large farming family, who, when she tries to help her parents or sibling, only seems to get in their way. After they chase her off, she spends her time playing with Cat and Dog and sits looking out of a small window shaped like a fan, waiting for "something exciting" to happen. What does happen is that real-life artist Ammi Phillips, who traveled through New England and New York during that period painting farmers and their families, shows up hoping to paint another portrait; and it is the little girl whom Phillips chooses to paint. When it is finished, the child is elevated in the eyes of her family.
The actual portrait hangs in New York's Museum of American Folk Art. The primitive paintings in the book are provided by Cynthia von Buhler. Chicago Tribune reviewer Mary Harris Veeder praised the book for its believability and "because the circumstances of daily life in a prosperous rural family are vividly explained." Liz Rosenberg wrote in the Boston Globe that she would "give it to any child about to tour an art museum, and to any baby of the family who sometimes feels invisible."
Nicholson's background brings fine detail to Object of Virtue, his debut novel. As a child, Sasha Ozerovsky learned about Russian antiquities and art from his mother, Princess Nina, and now he is a specialist at Leighton's, a New York auction house. When he is asked to authenticate a figurine of Snegurochka, the snow maiden of a Russian fairytale, he is torn because the beloved object, which may have belonged to his family at one time, is not exactly as he remembers it. When his father and cousin sue for possession as the rightful owners, Leighton's puts Sasha on leave. He travels to Russia to unravel the mystery, and this eventually leads him into the world of the Russian mafia and its counterfeiting of Russian art. Jeff Zaleski wrote in Publishers Weekly that Object of Virtue "is dense with insider expertise and historical detail."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, p. 704.
Boston Globe, May 17, 1998, Liz Rosenberg, review of Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, section D, p. 3.
Chicago Tribune Books, February 1, 1998, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, p. 7.
Horn Book, March-April, 1998, Ann A. Flowers, review of Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, p. 216.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of Object of Virtue, p. 202.
Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2004, Jeff Zaleski, review of Object of Virtue, p. 42.
Nicholas B. A. Nicholson Home Page,http://www.objectofvirtue.com (November 4, 2004).*