Jemima Blackburn was the youngest daughter of James Wedderburn, Solicitor General for Scotland and Isabella Clerk of Penicuik. A child of delicate health, drawing was prescribed as a therapy and her art is largely drawn from her experiences. Although largely self-taught her work was admired by John Ruskin, Sir Edwin Landseer and Sir John Everett Millais. She married Hugh Blackburn, a Professor of mathematics at Glasgow University in 1854 and they bought a house Roshven, Invernesshire, which was to be a great source of inspiration for her. She worked as an illustrator, etcher and lithographer and her publications include Illustrations From Scripture By An Animal Painter, 1854, Birds Of Nature, 1862 and Birds From Moidart, 1896. In 1878 in collaboration with Anthony Trollope she published How the Mastiffs went to Iceland and she illustrated A. White's, The Instructive Picture Book and W.J.M. Rankin's Songs and Fables, 1874.
Jemima Blackburn was first cousin to James Clerk Maxwell. Seen depicted in this album, as a young boy, became one of the greatest scientists in history, most significantly developing his theory on electromagnetic waves. Other important research was into kinetic gases, the study of colour blindness and colour vision (out of his research came the first colour photograph). This present album is both a charming record of Victorian family life and an interesting insite into the young James Clerk Maxwell.
Also depicted are Jemima'’s uncle John Clerk Maxwell,a nd amongst others, the Mackenzie family (the Clerk Maxwell’s cousin) ands Charles Hope, 3rd son of the Earl of Hopetoun, who married Lady Isabella Douglas, daughter of the Earl of Selkirk, who later became Govenor of the Isle of Man.
For further information see R. Fairley (ed.) Jemima: The Paintings and Drawings of a Victorian Lady, Edinburgh, 1988.