Thetis Blacker

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Thetis Blacker
Born (1927-12-13)13 December 1927
Holmbury St Mary, Surrey, England
Died 18 December 2006(2006-12-18) (aged 79)
Bramley, Surrey, England
Nationality British
Education Chelsea School of Art
Known for Painting, batik
Notable work Apocalypse, Arbor Cosmica, A Bestiary of Mythical Creatures, The Creation, and Search for the Simurgh
Patron(s) Henry Dyson

Ann Thetis Blacker (13 December 1927 – 18 December 2006) was an English painter and singer. She was noted for her richly coloured pictures, especially using the batik wax-resist fabric dyeing process.[1]

Blacker was born in Holmbury St Mary, Surrey, England.[2] She was the daughter of Carlos Paton Blacker, a psychiatrist, and granddaughter of Carlos Blacker, a friend of Oscar Wilde. Blacker intended to be a singer and studied with the German mezzo-soprano singer Elena Gerhardt in London. She appeared in the chorus at Glyndebourne opera in the 1950s and sang the role of "Mother Goose" in The Rake's Progress by Igor Stravinsky.[1] When her singing career was cut short by vocal issues in the mid-1950s, Blacker turned her focus to painting.[3] She studied at the Chelsea School of Art in London and was taught by the wife of the artist Leonard Campbell Taylor, Brenda Moore.[1]

In 1970, Blacker became a Churchill Fellow and visited India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. She worked at the Batik Research Institute in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She went on to visit Bali and Peru, influencing her style of brightly coloured symbolic pictures using batik dyed fabric.[4] A number cathedrals and churches in the United Kingdom, the rest of Europe, and the United States commissioned her work including a series of five major pieces based on mythical themes: Apocalypse (at St Andrew's House), Arbor Cosmica, A Bestiary of Mythical Creatures, The Creation (at Winchester Cathedral), and Search for the Simurgh.

The Nave, Winchester Cathedral with batik festival banners by Thetis Blacker

Blacker received commissions for artworks at:[2]

Blacker's work was exhibited at Glyndebourne in 2005. Her dealer was Henry Dyson and she died in Bramley, Surrey in 2006.


  1. ^ a b c Buckman, David (31 January 2007). "Thetis Blacker: Visionary batik painter". News – Obituaries. UK: The Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Keene, Barry. "Ann Thetis Blacker (1927 – 2006) "The Yellow Cat"". UK: Barry Keene Gallery. 
  3. ^ "Thetis Blacker". Features, Obituary: The Times (United Kingdom). 24 February 2007. p. 79. 
  4. ^ "Batik Artist Thetis Blacker". The Batik Route. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2016.