Edwin G Lucas, a Local Juniper Green Artist in the Mid 1900s
Edwin George Lucas was a local Juniper Green artist who lived in Belmont Road, Juniper Green from childhood in the 1920s through to the mid 1940s, then in Hailes Avenue till the early 1950s. He was at his most active as an artist throughout this period and was particularly fond of painting the local landscape. In his own words, he "tramped many miles looking for subjects to paint". His favourite locations included the Water of Leith valley, especially Juniper Green, Redhall Mill and Mossy Mill, Baberton Mains, Kingsknowe, Hailes and Currie. Some of these places were very different from how they are today!
Edwin was born in Leith in 1911. He was educated at Juniper Green Primary School and then George Heriot's, later going on to work for the Civil Service in Edinburgh and to take a Law degree at Edinburgh University. He was an active founder member of the 31st Juniper Green scout troop founded in 1924 and attended a reunion in 1976. You can find more information on this phase of his life by visiting the item about scouting elsewhere on this website.
Edwin showed talent in drawing and painting at an early age, but his family strongly discouraged him from considering it as a career. This was due to the fate of his uncle, E G Handel Lucas, who although he is now one of the better regarded Victorian painters, lived the latter part of his life in severely straightened circumstances.
Edwin nevertheless was a very active painter. He attended the life drawing evening classes at Edinburgh College of Art for a number of years, but was otherwise entirely self-taught.
Throughout the 1930's he worked mainly in water colours. Towards the end of that period he first turned seriously to painting in oils, the medium he was to use predominantly thereafter. This switch coincided with a brief flirtation with Surrealism which he found a greatly liberating experience. However, although he was aware of the 'modern' movements of the times, he was strongly opposed to being regarded as a representative of any particular mode.
He was very well read and studied the work of many other artists, but he was influenced by far more than just the art world. Indeed, a French periodical described him as "a philosopher of art and a metaphysicist of aesthetics in its relationship with ethics, religion, and sociology".
He exhibited with fair regularity in the Royal Society of Watercolourists, the Scottish Society of Artists and the Royal Scottish Academy exhibitions of the 1930's and 1940's, and in 1950 and 1951 he held one-man shows at the New Gallery in Edinburgh. However, as a self-taught painter he had no influence with the painting establishment, and it was only his more conventional work that was accepted by exhibitions. Undeterred, he was continually innovative in his painting, and refused to create a personal style by self repetition.
Following his marriage in 1952, he stopped painting in favour of domestic and family responsibilities, except for a brief spell in the early 1980's which was brought to an end by deteriorating eyesight. He died of leukaemia in 1990.
He has a number of works in the City of Edinburgh art collection. These are periodically exhibited at the City Art Centre and other locations.
To view more paintings by Edwin Lucas follow the links below: