Painter, teacher, printmaker, graphic designer, writer and critic, William Blamire Young was born in Yorkshire in 1862. After obtaining his Master of Arts degree at Cambridge, he arrived in Sydney in 1885 to teach mathematics at Katoomba College, New South Wales. He returned to England in 1893 for further studies, and then arrived back in Australia in 1895, where he worked in commercial graphics producing posters with Harry Weston, and Norman and Lionel Lindsay (q.v.).
Blamire Young held a number of successful exhibitions before World War I, including one in Adelaide in 1911, at which Robert Barr Smith may have purchased these two works (possibly later inherited by his grand-daughter, Ursula Hayward).
After a further period in England, successfully exhibiting and publishing, Blamire Young returned to Australia in 1923, where he became art critic for the Melbourne Herald until his death in 1935.
The influence of his early poster work is shown in his romantic and poetic watercolours, painted with a complexity of technique. Beginning with saturated paper, he would apply the colours separately in wet flooding washes until, in the process of combining or repelling, the contours began to suggest the subject. The addition of materials such as sugar helped to give a granular effect. Using saucers of colour, Blamire Young would tilt the paper in various ways to allow the colours, while still wet, to settle into forms. Creating extraordinary effects, with a mixture of brilliant and cool colours, Blamire Young was convinced that his was the ideal medium in which to convey his fantasies of the Australian countryside.
Both his paintings in the Australian Collection at Carrick Hill indicate the artist's mastery of his distinctive technique, which enabled him to achieve these extraordinary and vivid poetic creations.
AUTUMN MORNING, undated, (also known as The Solace of Pale Skies) shows Blamire Young's response to the light and atmosphere of the Australian landscape. The technical effects he always valued are achieved in the alluring gradations of colour in this romantic dream-world. In a simple and uncluttered design, Blamire Young has arranged his figures against a frieze-like Art Nouveau background of decorative tree branches.
The evocative SOLITARY FIGURE, undated, is silhouetted against a desolate, open countryside. The enveloping vaporous sky produces harmonies of colour not found in nature but created by the imaginative skill of the artist. Blamire Young's love of the theatre often showed in his work. Here he places the lonely figure against the greater back-drop of the bare, melancholy landscape.