Blackadder’s still-life paintings, with their delicately painted and exquisitely placed ingredients, have long been marked by the influence of Japanese art. Blackadder writes: ‘My first visit to Japan was not made until 1985 but long before that I was influenced by Japanese art, seen in books and reproductions... and especially by the 'Great Japan' exhibition in the Royal Academy of Arts in 1981-2.' She was also a collector of all kings of interesting objects from various travels. The kite in this painting was given to the artist by a friend and it is depicted amongst other things seen around her in her studio. As per traditional Japanese art, exact use of perspective and spatial arrangement is given up, as items are laid out as if on a table-top, each appearing at its most typical and recognisable angle.
Watercolour on paper
60.9 × 95.3 cm
85.5 × 116 cm
Signed and dated bottom left
Ⓒ 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.