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Keith, Elizabeth (1887 - 1956)

Born in Aberdeenshire Scotland in 1887, Elizabeth Keith moved to London with her family in 1898. In 1915, she went to Japan to visit her younger sister, Elspet ("Jessie"), who was married to J.W. Robertson-Scott, publisher of the Tokyo-based magazine, The New East. Her intended holiday became a stay which lasted nine years. Keith traveled widely, making trips to Korea, China, and the Philippines and throughout Japan. She prided herself on being self-taught, and was a keen observer and student who learned from everyone she met. In 1919 she exhibited her Korean watercolors and they caught the eye of Shozaburo Watanabe who urged her to translate them into print form. With Watanabe's help, she produced over one hundred signed prints which were very successful in Japan, London and Paris. Keith returned to England in 1924 where she studied color etching. In 1927 her watercolor entitled, Korean Bride was exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1932 Keith returned to Japan where her sister, Jessie, helped to promote her works. With the war looming, Keith returned to England in 1936 and then had sold-out exhibitions in America in 1937.

After the war, she renewed her working relationship with Watanabe and in 1956, the year of her death, there was a solo show of Elizabeth Keith works in Tokyo, which included 59 woodblock prints and 8 colored etchings. She lived in England in her latter years and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.