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Sold at Auction: Elizabeth (1887) Keith

Alias:Elizabeth Keith PondBessie KeithBessie Keith PondElizabeth Keith
PainterWood cutterEtcherIllustratorCaricaturist


(b 1887; d 1956)
Elizabeth Keith was born in Scotland and raised in London.

In 1915 Keith joined her sister in Japan, remaining there for nine years. Although Keith’s artistic training during this period remains obscure, it was a productive time for the artist. Keith traveled to China, Korea and the Philippines, sketching and painting in watercolor during her travels.

In 1919 her watercolors on exhibition in Tokyo captured the attention of the publisher, Watanabe, the central figure of the shin hanga movement. Watanabe arranged for his studio craftsmen to translate Keith’s paintings into color woodblock prints. This work, known as “East Gate, Seoul, by moonlight” became one of Keith’s most eagerly sought-after prints—in part due to its limited edition of 30. Watanabe continued to publish her prints until 1939, even though Keith had already returned to England in 1924.

Keith continued to travel throughout her life, producing studies for other prints. Keith created over 113 designs, one hundred of which were made into woodblock prints.

An impressive bibliography, that traces the career of Keith, her travels and her art, is available for those who wish to further research Keith’s remarkable achievements.

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