Auction Highlight Autumn 2015 Edith Helena Adie

Lot 70. Edith Helena Adie - Red and Blue Waterlillies Queens Gardens WA
Lot 70 Edith Helena Adie – Red and Blue Waterlillies Queens Gardens WA

When Edith Adie arrived in Australia she was already a highly regarded English watercolourist with numerous accomplishments to her credit. Her specialty was painting flowers in gardens in the landscape. It was important to her that her flowers were viewed in the context of their surrounds and while they were botanically correct, she never intended for them to be seen as specimens alone, they had to form part of the whole.

She had been awarded medals for her pictures at the Royal Horticultural Society and her works had been exhibited at the major venues in London including the Royal Academy, The Fine Art Society and the Royal Society of British Artists. In addition to being widely exhibited, her paintings had been illustrated in the influential arts magazine The Studio.

An adventurous lady for the time, she had studied at The Slade and the South Kensington Art School. She had taught art at Bordighera in Italy and privately from her studio in Kent. Her paintings had been admired and purchased by Queen Mary (Waterlilies in Hampton Court Gardens) and she had been commissioned to paint the rhododendron garden at Dyffryn House in South Wales. Edith Adie was a member of The British Watercolour Society in 1920.

Miss Adie had come to Australia to explore the landscape and paint both the gardens and wild flowers in their Australian setting. When she arrived in Perth in 1916 the Daily News reported, Mundaring Weir, situated amongst the Darling Ranges, is attracting a number of artists and flora collectors. Foremost amongst the former is Miss Edith H. Adie, of London, now on a visit to the Weir for the purpose of painting the Weir itself and some of the surrounding scenery. Mundaring Weir bids fair to become the first of all alluring pleasure places to be found in Western Australia.

Though she spent most of her time painting the wildflowers and scenery of Perth, those works were exhibited in Adelaide in 1917 at The Society of Arts Rooms in North Terrace. The exhibition and referred to by the critics as being, particularly well treated.

Queen’s Gardens was once the site of clay pits and brickworks before being transferred to the City of Perth for the purpose of establishing a botanical garden. The gardens were officially opened and named in 1899 by the mayor of Perth, Alexander Forrest MLA.

Of the 36 works on display in Adelaide only ten were for sale with the remainder being reserved for an exhibition in London. An example of Edith Adie’s work “Oleanders Government House Perth” is included in the National Gallery of Australia’s collection.