Blackburn, Jemima (1823–1909)

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Blackburn, Jemima (1823–1909)

Scottish Painter. Name variations: Jemima Wedderburn; Mrs. Hugh Blackburn. Born 1823 in Edinburgh, Scotland; died 1909 in Lochailort, Inverness Co., Scotland; dau. of James Wedderburn (solicitor-general for Scotland) and Isabella Clerk of Penicuik; studied with John Ruskin and Sir Edwin Landseer, and with a professor of anatomy at Royal College of Surgeons; m. Hugh Blackburn (professor of mathematics at Glasgow University), 1848; children: 3 sons, 1 daughter.

One of the foremost illustrators of the Victorian Age, is best remembered for her visual diaries depicting life in the Scottish Highlands; sent to London to complete education (1840), promis to send mother a drawing a day, initiating a visual diary that she maintained for next 60 years; with husband, traveled throughout Europe, sketchbook in hand, then bought Roshven Estate (1854), on the shores of Loch Ailort; hosted some of the most celebrated figures of 19th century, including John Ruskin, Sir John Everett Millais, Anthony Trollope, Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Lister, and her 1st cousin, James Clerk-Maxwell; painted wildlife of countryside as well; a watercolorist of outstanding techniques and keen observations, also showed talent with lithographic crayon; was also a leading birder and skilled ornithological illustrator; asked to contribute to 1st exhibition of contemporary British art in America (1857), exhibited as well in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. Work resides in British Museum, British Library, Natural History Museum, The Royal Collection, National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Portrait Gallery.