Born in Falkirk in 1931, Dame Elizabeth Blackadder RSA is widely recognised to be one of Scotland’s most successful living artists. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art under the tutelage of Sir Robin Philipson and William Gillies and lectured at the college from 1962 until her retirement in 1986.
After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1954, Blackadder was awarded both a Carnegie Travelling Scholarship and an Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarship. She used these funds to spend three months travelling through Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy, where she researched classical and Byzantine art. This founded a passion for travel which has continued through her prolific career.
Blackadder paints in oil and watercolours and has worked with printmakers on a variety of printing techniques. Her sensitivity to her surroundings has inspired many still-life paintings, as well as many portraits of her cats, where she captures the paraphernalia around her studio and her domestic interior in compositions tending towards the abstract. The objects featured in her paintings are often those she collected during her many travels in Europe and in the East. The space between objects and their resonance with each other hold a great fascination for her.
Elected as a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1972 and the Royal Academy in 1976 she was the first woman to become a member of both institutions.