Edwin Alexander

R.S.A. R.S.W. R.W.S Born: 1870
Place of Birth: Edinburgh
Died: 1926

Alexander was born in Edinburgh, son of the painter Robert Alexander (1840–1923) from whom he learned much. He visited Tangier with his father and Joseph Crawhall, nine years his senior, in the winter of 1887–88, which sparked a lifelong fascination for the desert and the Arab world. He did study in Edinburgh and Paris with his friend Robert Burns (1861–1941) but was drawn back to North Africa and was based in Egypt, living on a houseboat on the Nile from 1892–1896. James Caw, writing in his book Scottish Painting Past and Present (TC and EC Jack, Edinburgh, 1908), notes that '...this young painter dwelt among the Arabs, living their simple life in the tents and sharing their daily lives.’ His depictions of camels and donkeys and the soft, varied, fawn coloured landscape with warm sunlight and purple shadow are observed as an intimate not a tourist.

Alexander had the first of four one-man shows with The Scottish Gallery in 1901 and the following year was made an associate of The RSA. In 1904, he married into the Dott family and settled in Edinburgh. Sadly, he had a stroke in 1917 and died aged only fifty-six. His memorial exhibition was held at The Gallery.