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Artists Biography

William Kay Blacklock

British 1872-1924
British born 1872, fl. 1897-1922

William Kay Blacklock studied at the Royal College of Art in London before briefly returning north. By 1900 he was a resident at 2 Margaretta Terrace, Chelsea, moving to Battersea the following year. In 1902 he moved to Edinburgh, remaining there for four years before, once again, moving south.

Blacklock, like so many of his generation, joined a colony of artists in Walberswick, a picturesque village on the East Coast. This colony was founded by Philip William Steer, OM (1860-1942), the leading light of British Impressionism, who lived and worked in Walberswick from 1888 until 1894. Blacklock moved to St. Ives in East Anglia before living finally in Leicester.

He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1897 and 1918, showing a total of seventeen works. He also regularly exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Blacklock was very much an artist of his time, born during the latter years of High Victorian painting, in style and content he drew on the traditional Victorian subject matter of rural and coastal everyday life. However, although suffused with an idealised view of nature and rural poverty, his work shows sometimes knowledge of the French Social Realists, such as Jean François Millet (1814-1875) and Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884), but interpreted in a fashion more akin to that of Leon L’Hermitte (1844-1925), the renowned painter of rural France.

The titles of a number of his Royal Academy exhibits exemplify this attitude to nature ‘Evening Glow – Rye’ 1901, ‘A Sunny Hillside’ of 1902 and ‘A Sunny Corner’ of 1911, and a ‘Dutch Idyll’ of 1914, this latter painted while in Walberswick.

Blacklock’s enduring popularity as a watercolourist and painter in oils, lies in this vision of nature and his distinct interpretation of rural life.

Works by this artist…

  • Summer Holidays
    Summer Holidays
    ( ref : 15989 )
  • Feathered Friends
    Feathered Friends
    ( ref : 16147 )
  • Shepherdess
    ( ref : 15985 )
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