Elizabeth Blackadder

Iris Oncocyclus (1996)

About this artwork

In this painting, the artist has used watercolours to capture the delicacy of the lilies, as well as their vivid colour. A lifelong lover of flowers, Blackadder kept a collection of local flowers as a child, each pressed and labelled with their Latin names. Here, she depicts the lilies from different angles with the precision of a botanical illustrator. Yet despite her painstaking attention to detail, the flowers look graceful and full of life. Lilies are a favourite flower of the artist, and in 1979 she began keeping a sketchbook to document each variety as it appeared in her garden. Around this time, Blackadder was also a frequent visitor to Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens, where she helped to run a course in botanical illustration, which gave her access to rare and exotic plants.

Elizabeth Blackadder

Elizabeth Blackadder

Painter and printmaker Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art under William Gillies, and lectured at the college from 1962 until her retirement in 1986. In 1956 she married fellow artist John Houston. Blackadder is well known for her delicate paintings of flowers and still life subjects, however, she has also painted landscapes and portraits. She paints with both oils and watercolour, but uses the latter most frequently as it is well suited to conveying her sensitive brushwork. Regular trips abroad, particularly to Japan, helped stimulate her interest in colour and pattern.

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