about the artist
After graduating with a MA in Modern Languages from Oxford, Olivia spent a year at Wimbledon Art College before moving to India in 1989. Since then she has had numerous single and group shows in the UK, India and Nepal. She has also illustrated her husband, William Dalrymple’s books, in particular ‘City of Djinns’. She has written and illustrated a children’s book for an Indian NGO that promotes childhood literacy: “Made in India” published by Pratham. She teaches a bi-annual miniature painting course in Jaipur.
Olivia Fraser first came to India in 1989 and had her first show in Delhi in 1991. Following in the footsteps of her ancestor, James Baillie Fraser who painted India, its monuments and landscape in the early 1800s, Olivia set out to continue where her ancestor had left off, painting the architecture of India and its people. James Baillie Fraser also commissioned local artists to paint what has become the famous ‘Fraser Album’ – the greatest masterpiece of Company School Painting portraying the different types of people and their jobs, crafts or castes against stark white backgrounds. This hybrid form of painting where Indian artists created something that mixed techniques and ideas from the East and West has greatly influenced Olivia’s work during the 1990s.
Since then, she has studied the traditional Indian miniature painting technique under Jaipuri and Delhi masters, and now uses this in her work with its gem-like stone colours, its unique miniature brush work, and its elaborate decorative and burnished surfaces. Having been especially influenced by Nathdwara pichwai painting in recent years, Olivia has been exploring its visual language, honing it down to create one of her own that seeks to convey the very essence of the Rajasthani tradition.
Her work is now in collections in India, the UK and the USA.
Olivia divides her time between Delhi and London.