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1937 - 2006

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Born in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal in1937, Edward Speirs was educated at Maritzburg College with art as Matric subject. He studied art part time at Durban Art College.

He also attended the Arthur Lennard Academy of Fashion in Johannesburg.

Devoting himself entirely to his art Edward spent fourteen years (1984-1998) in Graaf Reinet holding several local exhibitions as well as showing his work in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. The artist moved to Cape Town in 1998. He is known for his paintings of Karroo and vases of field and garden flowers, inspired by the stark beauty and adverse conditions of the Karroo. In his own words:

"I believe the struggle and hardship of my life as an artist has taught me how to project my moods and emotions onto the canvas simultaneously capturing nature's ever changing elements. My aim has always been to capture beauty and not ugliness."

An artist with a considerable technical range, Edward Spiers demonstrates a fine sensibility in interpreting his subject. Versatile in the use of the oil and water colour media, he has also achieved recognition for his pencil and pen and ink drawings.

Compiled by Gail Dörje

EDWARD JAMES SPEIRS Eulogy as written by his sister Margot Spiers
Edward was born on the 13th January 1937 in Pietermaritzburg, Natal.

He was the first of five children.

From an early age he displayed a talent and enthusiasm for dress designing much to his father’s distress. Instead of doing his homework he would produce copious, flamboyant creations and seemed to have an endless flow of ideas.

As a teenager Edward took up ballroom dancing, enjoying and excelling at it. He loved good cars and his family have memories of him proudly polishing the long elegant bonnet of his black Wolsey. Edward was also a very good cook and enjoyed entertaining. He loved gardening and had a talent for landscaping.

As a young man he realised that he would have to knuckle down to a routine type of job, to earn a living.

In Johannesburg he met Carol, they married and had a daughter Claire Leigh. Edward enjoyed caring for her and was a good father and husband at that stage. Much as he tried to be a conventional bread winner, his artistic spirit rebelled and craved the freedom to express itself.

This at least in part, led to his divorce from Carol and his temporary loss of Claire.

From this time on Edward earned an erratic income from his oils and water colours.

He eventually bought a cottage in Graaff-Reinet where he stayed for several years. After leaving he returned many times. Edward frequently spoke of his friends in Johannesburg, Smithfield and Graaff-Reinet.

Many people in various parts of South Africa and in other countries appreciated and bought his art, they all enriched his life.

In 1996 Edward had a Laryngectomy and permanent Tracheostomy performed for cancer. This began a long ten year struggle. He missed the ease of verbal expression, (although it did not stop him talking!)

Edward had a cardiac procedure performed in November and on the 3rd December 2006 after phoning his mother he died suddenly, probably of a Myocardial Infarction.

Edward’s acceptance of his disability and his courage were an example to us all.

Edward Spiers

Title: Ryneveld Square
Size: 60 x 75 cm
Media: Oil
Price: R 12 000 Framed

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