Basil Ede, an artist twice over

I came across an oil painting this past week which was suspicious until I read up on the artist. I recognised the artist’s name but the painting which I was looking at was something way out of the ordinary for him, I thought.

Many people may not know the name #BasilEde but they likely have looked at works of his and not known it. Basil Ede (1931-2016) was a British watercolour artist who specialised in avian portraits. His talent did not go unnoticed and by 1962, he had had several one man shows. In 1964, Ede was the first living artist to have a one man show sponsored by the #NationalAudobonSociety. From there he published ‘Birds of Town and Village’ with 36 plates from his own works. He was working on ‘The Wild Birds of America’ when tragedy struck in 1968. Ede suffered a massive stroke leaving him partially paralyzed. He lost the use of his right arm and his speech. He regained his speech but not the use of his painting arm. Ede started over. Teaching himself to paint with his left hand. He chose to also re-train in a different medium – oils. Within a year he was competent and within three years he was back to his very detailed ornithological paintings.

Hibiscus in vase – oil on canvas by Basil Ede @ 1990/91

The painting I came across is seen above. A still-life in oils on canvas. Signed (l.r.) but not dated – but I believe it comes from Ede’s recovery period around 1990/91 where he taught himself to paint left-handed. Ably painted but not yet to the intricate work he was known for. A nice work coming from a very determined artist.


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