Saturday, 8 October 2011

Kay Nixon

Kay Nixon
(Kathleen Irene Blundell-Nixon)

British children's author, painter, muralist, illustrator and poster artist.
If ever there was a British artist who should have been a printmaker it surely was Kay NixonTo my humble opinion. She produced so many wonderful pictures in a woodblock orientalist Japanese style. In watercolor and pencil. But, sadly, she wasn't a printmaker.
These great watercolour budgies is how I stumbled over Kay Nixon’s art. Looking for parrots (great and small) on prints on the www. 
Just have a look and enjoy some of the following illustrations from this great and forgotten (1962) book:

and you’ll understand my earlier suggestion why she should have been and would have been an excellent printmaker. (All pictures are mouse clickable) 

Kay Nixon was trained at Camden and Birmingham Schools of Art and after her  marriage (becoming Mrs. Blundell) lived in India for 25 years. In India  she made illustrations for the Time of India Press and designed some 30 posters for the Indian State Railways. I found only these two.
She painted horse portraits and did murals for the Bombay Natural History Museum. She even decorated the interior of a maharaja’s private plane.
Returning to England her career was to be mostly in illustrating some of the most lovely animal books: "Bird families", "Animal mothers and babies", "Animal Legends" Books on "Pushti" and "Pindy Poo". And she worked with famous Enid Blyton.
Kay Nixon made extensive travels through the USA, India, China and Australia. She was awarded many times. 
There are a great many books she illustrated still and easily available. Great Art at bargain prices. 


  1. how did i miss this -- utterly charming! thank you for the introduction. and of course you know i love her image in today's post.

  2. Lily I am so pleased that you of all people should be the first to comment my most wonderful discovery and posting sofar and yet so neglected by readers. I have another posting planned. So stay tuned.

  3. Found a signed K. Nixon watercolour "about 16" wide x 24" high} at a garage sale earlier this summer.

    The painting was framed in England many years ago - and the covering glass was so dirty the picture didn't look like much.

    I first saw it early in the day, when I purchased an old carved Chinese trunk .. and saw it again near closing time - when I came to pick up the trunk.

    The watercolour is of a bird with an extremely long tail - and it's sitting in what I take to be an apple tree in blossom - very oriental in appearance - and even the signature is of a form that further emphasizes that impression of the east.

    Since I cleaned the glass it looks great - though not as brightly coloured as most of those shown on this page.

    Pleased to have bought it and discovered this artist, whose work I probably saw as a child in children's books.

    If producing such art contributes to you living to 103, one would hope that looking at the work of Miss Nixon/Mrs. Blundell throughout your life will have a similar effect.

  4. Congratulations on your find, thank you for making corrections (1885/1895) Living upto 93 with these intentions is quite respecptable too. Please feel free to send a picture, please, and why not unanonymise). You'll find my email in the "contact".
    Thanks for leaviung a comment, always and very much appreciated.

  5. Gerrie:

    Thank you. I was just lucky, so no congratulations are in order.

    By the way, I wasn't intending to slyly make a correction - I assumed the dates were correct. But as you say, 93 is a good age, too, and if those years were as filled with warmth as are her paintings, all the better.

    I made my own errors - the painting is a couple of inches narrower than I suggested and it's not an apple tree at all. While the blossoms might be a tiny bit apple like (more sensational), the leaves are not at all like apple leaves - more like honey locust.

    I stumbled on your site doing a tiny bit of research for my wife - arising from my purchases at that yard sale.

    As I said, I got the watercolour at a sale - an estate sale actually, where I also bought a trunk/chest. It contained some old family photos that go back as far as the 1930s - of a warm-looking family that (from the photos) lived, variously, in England, Bombay, San Francisco and Canada.

    My wife wasn't too impressed with the stunning carved oriental trunk, but she was intrigued by the photos and wanted to find out more about the family. The imaginings have taken her to many places, so it was a great purchase after all.

    Knowing that K Nixon lived in Bombay (and England too) opened up possibilities about the family - and my wife, who doesn't use the internet much, asked me to do a bit of a search.

    I stumbled on your site in a first attempt, on her behalf, to learn a bit more about K Nixon.

    Since my wife is getting a great deal of pleasure writing stories in her head about the family, I'll let her continue to take the lead with the follow on - rather than trying to take the story where my more pedestrian imagination might take it.

    Thanks for posting the wonderful pictures that you have posted.

  6. Great story, please share the picture of the with me/us. You'll find the email behind the contact button. And please understand it is not possible for me to reply incoming emails/comments send through this commenting section (it's a one way "noreply" service)

  7. My Mom gave me a clear bag with paintings and prints of various artists. I discovered I had 11 poster prints of K Nixon, unscathed and in perfect shape.
    I researched her and found this website. Thanks for the information as I had no clue who she was. Very interesting to see!
    What should I do with them?

    1. Congratulations Kathy and thank you for finding my humble blog contribution. You could have them framed to be enjoyed or sell them. You may even send me some pictures (email in the contact button) to see what you actually have.

  8. Hello, I found some of Kay Nixon’s work as school posters at a car boot sale last summer. We have framed up 2 and I have just put them on the wall - it’s a group of cows in a pasture and can’t find it anywhere on the Internet. Not sure if I can attach image in some way to show you? It’s such a beautiful image. Thank you for the information you have found out. All best Jan x

    1. You'll find my email under the Contact Button Jan. Please do send !