Alexander’s studies of birds, animals and plants combine superb drawing and subtle colour; he also executed a number of landscapes. He worked almost exclusively in watercolour, often using grey or buff course packing paper, as well as linen and silk.
Watercolour on paper
122 × 146 cm
Signed and dated
Edwin John Alexander RSA RWS RSW, 1870-1926
Like his father Robert Alexander, Edwin Alexander, born in Edinburgh, was a very fine animal painter. At seventeen he accompanied his father, Joseph Crawhall and Pollock Nisbet on a painting expedition to Morocco (Crawhall was to have a considerable influence on his art). Alexander studied art at the Trustees’ Academy, Edinbrugh, and in Paris under the animal sculpture Emmanuel Frémiet. During the period 1892-1896, Alexander made two extended visits to Egypt with the artist Erskine E. Nicol Jnr, either living on a houseboat on the Nile or with the Bedouin in the desert. Alexander executed some fine studies of local people, the culture and the landscape. Alexander later settled in Inveresk, having married in 1904, where he kept a menagerie of animals and birds which he used as models, before moving to Musselburgh. Alexander’s watercolours, a medium in which he worked exclusively, of birds, animals and plants combine superb drawing and subtle colour.