Miniature painter and art instructor working in Sydney in the early decades of the twentieth century. Rose Blakemore was born in Copperfield, Queensland on 31 January 1870, daughter of smelter and mining engineer William Blakemore (1840?-1916) and Elizabeth Blakemore née Casey(1844?-1896). Blakemore had two brothers George Henry, born in 1868 (d.1941); and William Charles, born in 1878 (d.1946). Little is known of Blakemore’s early life aside that the family moved to Nymagee, New South Wales in the 1880s.(1)
By 1890 Blakemore was receiving instruction at Miss McMinn’s School in Adelaide, where she studied First and Second Grade Freehand Drawing under Rosa Fiveash.(2) By 1892 she had relocated to Sydney, where she commenced studies at the Sydney Technical College. Between 1892 and 1897 she undertook several subjects including Perspective, Practical Geometry, Plant Drawing and Antique Modelling, and by 1896 she was listed as an Assistant Teacher in the Technical College’s art department.(3) Around the same time, Blakemore became engaged with the College’s Minerva Art Club, assuming the role of Honorary Secretary in 1897 and later serving as President.(4) Blakemore was promoted to the position of Art Teacher at the Technical College in 1898, which she held until her retirement in 1926.(5)
Blakemore displayed two portrait miniatures at the 1900 Art Society of New South Wales Spring Exhibition and another work, titled 'The Water Carrier’ at the 1901 Society of Artists Exhibition.(6) Around 1906 Blakemore travelled to London and Paris to further her studies. She returned to Australia in early 1908, and was reported to have received a gold medal for miniature painting at an exhibition in Paris.(7) Upon her return to her duties as an art instructor at the Sydney Technical College, Blakemore taught antique modelling and life drawing classes.(8) In 1926 Blakemore travelled to London, staying near Piccadilly and St James’s Square, and returned to Australia in early 1928.(9)
Blakemore died at the Balmoral Hill Private Hospital in Sydney on 16 January 1958 from a coronary occlusion; she had previously been residing at the Bundarra Convalescent Home in Mosman. Her funeral was held at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium on 18 January 1958.(10) In 1947 Miss Bertha Pearshouse (1870?-1966) donated four portrait miniatures on ivory of unidentified female subjects by Blakemore to the Queensland Art Gallery.(11)
footnotes: (1) Queensland Births Deaths & Marriages birth certificates 1870/C2320; 1868/C2072; 1878/C627. William Blakemore and Elizabeth Casey were married in 1864, Queensland Births Deaths & Marriages marriage certificate 1864/B1025. (2) The Express & Telegraph Tues 20 May 1890 p 4; The Evening Journal Fri 5 December 1890 p 3, Thurs 11 December 1890 p 2. (3) The Sydney Morning Herald Sat 14 January 1893 p 7, Sat 15 January 1898 p 7; Evening News Sat 18 January 1896 p 3. New South Wales Government Gazette, No 434 1896, Thursday 4 June 1896, p 3863. (4) The Australian Technical Journal, 29 April 1897, p 95. (5) New South Wales Government Gazette, No 340 1898, Friday 22 April 1898, p 3183; Supplement to the Government Gazette of New South Wales, No 135 1926, Friday 15 October 1926, p 4423. (6) The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser Sat 1 September 1900 p 28, Sat 9 November 1901, p 35. (7) The Register Tues 28 January 1908 p 4; Evening News Saturday 28 March 1908 p 14. (8) A Quarter century of Technical Education in New South Wales: a monograph published on the occasion of the exhibition of students’ work held at the Sydney Technical College, Sydney: Government Printer, 1909, p 145. (9) Blakemore travelled aboard the SS Vedic from Sydney, arriving in London on 2 April 1926. She returned to Sydney via the RMS Maloja, arriving on 10 February 1928. (10) New South Wales Births Deaths & Marriages death certificate 2058/1958; The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 17 January 1958, p 18. (11) QAGOMA Acc. 1:0419-0422.