Edwin John Alexander was a Scottish artist who specialised in animal and avian paintings. Between 1887 and 1888, he accompanied his father on a trip to Tangiers, Morocco, to observe animals in their natural habitats with Joseph Crawhall III. Morocco had left such an impact on the young artist that he returned and settled on the Nile in 1892, living in a house-boat.There, h e learned Arabic and painted many watercolours of Bedouin encampments and animals, as well as desert landscapes.
Watercolour on paper
32 × 50.5 cm
54.5 × 72 × 2 cm
Signed bottom left
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.