Blackadder spent many months in Italy in the mid-1950s, supported by travelling scholarships from Edinburgh College of Art and the Royal Scottish Academy. Her travels then first took her to Portugal in 1966, where she returned the following year for a visit that resulted in a considerable number of drawings and watercolours, especially (she recalls) ‘of fishing boats on the beach and of the colourful costumes of the fishermen and the women sitting on the beach’. This painting was done from one of these drawings and shows a port and resort which faces the Atlantic about twenty miles north of Lisbon. Blackadder remembers how ‘the strong shapes and colours of some of the churches' made a great impression on her, being strikingly different from the eclisiastical architecture she had come to know in Italy some years previously.
Oil on canvas
127 × 127 cm
134 × 134 cm
Ⓒ The Artist's Estate. All Rights Reserved 2019/Bridgeman Images
Elizabeth Blackadder DBE RA RSA RSW, 1931 - 2021
Born in Falkirk, Blackadder studied art at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art, where her teachers included Blyth, Philipson and MacTaggart, although it was Gillies who had the greatest impact on her work. Awarded a Carnegie Travelling Scholarship in 1954, she visited Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy, studying Classical and Byzantine art at first hand. In 1956 she took up a two-year part-time teaching post at Edinburgh College of Art, and from 1962 to 1986 taught there full time. She travelled extensively in Europe, America and Japan.
Blackadder was the first woman to be elected an Academician of both the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy in London. She was an Honorary Member of the Royal West of England Academy, the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2001 she was appointed Her Majesty's Painter and Limner in Scotland.