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Barbara Robertson — one of Scotland’s finest printmakers

Published on 22/08/2018

  • Barbara Robertson — one of Scotland’s finest printmakers

BARBARA ROBERTSON (Babs) sadly died this month, just days short of her 73rd birthday. Barbara was a superb printmaker, sensitive, observant, full of humour and wonderfully skilled. She was also warm, generous and great company.

 

Skimmers linocut by Barbara Robertson

 Skimmers linocut

 

We have been showing Barbara’s work for many years. Indeed she took part in our first ever show, in 1987. You never knew what was going to appear, such was Barbara’s rich imagination. She was a great storyteller and her prints often included elements of myth or history. She was rooted in the Angus countryside and produced beautifully observed landscapes in her unique style.

 

Summer Visitors linocut by Barbara Robertson

 Summer Visitors linocut

 

She also illustrated a number of books and she created the design for a beautiful piece of stained glass in Inverarity Church, her local church where her funeral took place.

 

Inverarity Kirk stained glass window

Inverarity Kirk window

 

With her smaller pieces she often provoked laughter. Featuring hens and cats and other creatures, their witty titles alone reflect gleeful mischief. She created a long-running series of ‘Hen’ prints including such delights as ‘Genghis Hen’, ‘Henlet’ and ‘Hen Lake’. She enjoyed carrying out commissions and she created a number of commissions for our family which we shall always treasure. These portray various family members, re-imagined as hens, enjoying favourite activities.

 

Hen Lake linocut by Barbara Robertson

Hen Lake linocut

 

To say Barbara was a cat lover would be an understatement and each year she produced a calendar with drawings of the scrapes her cats got into, each cat having its own distinct character. Sadly 2017 saw her last calendar and many devotees have been having withdrawal symptoms this year.

 

Barbara Robertson calendar

Cat calendar

 

As a printmaker, Barbara’s technical expertise was exceptional. To produce such detail and texture using lino is extraordinary. Fabric, feathers, fur, skin, grass, flowers…she made it look easy. It is anything but. She had enormous energy, constantly producing new prints. She enjoyed the process and enjoyed coming up with new ideas. She printed very small editions, rarely more than eighteen, sometimes as few as two.

 

Barbara Robertson - Year of the Chicken

The Year of the Chicken linocut

 

It is very sad to think that there will be no new Barbara Robertson linocuts, no new tales of her beloved cats, but she leaves an outstanding legacy as one of Scotland’s finest printmakers.

 

Blog by Joan Ross

 

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