Katharine Cameron

Katharine Cameron RWS RE (26 February 1874 – 1965) was a Scottish artist.[1]

Katharine Cameron
The Immortals!.jpg
Back row: Margaret Macdonald
middle row L-R: Frances MacDonald, Katharine Cameron, Janet Aitken, Agnes Raeburn, Jessie Keppie, John Keppie
front row L-R: Herbert McNair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (circa 1894).
Born(1874-02-26)26 February 1874
Glasgow, United Kingdom
EducationGlasgow School of Art
Known forPainting, Illustration
Arthur Kay
(m. 1928)


Born in Hillhead, Glasgow, she was the daughter of the Rev. Robert Cameron and the sister of the artist David Young Cameron. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art, from 1890 to 1893. Afterwards, she studied at the Atelier Colarossi, with Gustave Courtois. In 1928 she married Arthur Kay, whose interest in Jacobite and Scottish artifacts played a role in building the collection of the Scottish Modern Arts Association.[2]

She was elected a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists in 1892, and of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1897.[2] She exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy, from 1894 to 1965.

She played the part of Queen Maeve in the Celtic Races section of the Scottish pageant and masque at the Scottish National Exhibition held in Saughton Park, Edinburgh in 1908.[3]

Book IllustratorEdit

One of the Glasgow Girls,[2] Cameron worked in the Glasgow Style, which blended Art Nouveau, Celtic Revival, Arts and Crafts movement, and Japonisme aesthetics. Her paintings, with their "bold outlines and vivid colors,"[2] lent themselves to the book illustration format, and she contracted with London publishers T. C. and E. C. Jack in 1904 to provide art for books of fairytales.[2] Her interest in embroidered materials, fabrics, and costume[2] comes through in her illustrations, as does the influence of Whistler in her use of symbolism. Cameron also designed the bindings for these works.

She illustrated a series of three fairytale books for the Jacks (In Fairyland, The Enchanted Land, and Celtic Tales), which earned majority positive feedback from her artistic contemporaries.[2] Her fourth title for the Jacks, 1909's Legends and Stories of Italy for Children, was part of the publishers' Told to the Children series, for which fellow Scottish artists Phoebe Anna Traquair and Olive Allen Biller also produced illustrations.

Starting in 1907, Cameron also illustrated several gift books for T. N. Foulis' Envelope Book series, which showcased her talent for "delicate romantic watercolor illustrations... reminiscent of early work by the Macdonald sisters and Charles Rennie Mackintosh."[2]

Her final book for the Jacks was published in 1916, titled Flowers I Love. This title, showcasing unusual and exotic plants, signalled a shift in her artistic interest to her "real love," flower painting.[1] Her last piece of book design was the cover for 1939's Treasure Trove in Art.[2]

See alsoEdit


Books illustrated include the following. Several were published by T. C. & E. C. Jack of London in its Told to the Children series, edited by Louey Chisholm.

  • The Yellow Book (1897), as one of multiple illustrators
  • Mary Macgregor – Stories of King Arthur's Knights (Jack, 1905)
  • Charles Kingsley - The Water Babies, Told to the Children by Amy Steedman (Jack, 1905)
  • Louey Chisholm - The Storks and Other Stories for the Six Year Old (Jack, 1905)
  • Louey Chisholm – The Enchanted Land (Jack, 1906)
  • Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué - Undine, Told to the Children by Mary Macgregor (Jack)
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Rhyme of the Duchess May (Foulis, c. 1907)[4]
  • Aucassin and Nicolette (12th Century French Song Story) (1908)
  • Amy Steedman – Legends and Stories of Italy (Jack, 1909)
  • Louey Chisholm – In Fairyland: Tales Told Again (Jack, 1910)
  • Louey Chisholm – Celtic Tales, Told to the Children (Jack, 1910)
  • James Richmond Aitken – In a City Garden (Foulis, 1913)
  • Edward Thomas – The Flowers of Love: An Anthology of Flower Poems A Series of 24 Drawings in Colour (Jack, 1916)
US edition, The Flowers I Love: A Series of Twenty-Four Drawings in Colour by Katharine Cameron, with an Anthology of Flower Poems, selected by Edward Thomas (Stokes, 1917), LCCN 17--26887
  • Iolo Aneurin WilliamsWhere the Bee Sucks: A Book of Flowers (Poems Chosen by I. A. Williams) (Medici Society, 1929)
  • Fiona Grierson – Haunting Edinburgh (John Lane, 1929)
  • Katherine Cameron – Iain the Happy Puppy: Being the Autobiography of a West Highland Terrier (Moray Press, 1934)

Further readingEdit

  • Rosemary Addison, Glasgow Girl: Katharine Cameron, Scottish Book Collector, 6:9, pp4–7, Edinburgh 2000
  • Jude Burkhauser et al., Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design 1880-1920, Canongate, Edinburgh, 1990, ISBN 9780862413323
  • John Christian, Mary Anne Stevens (eds) The Last romantics: the romantic tradition in British art, Burne-Jones to Stanley Spencer, Lund Humphries in association with Barbican Art Gallery, 1989, ISBN 978-0-85331-552-0
  • Alicia Foster, Tate women artists, Volume 19, Tate, 2004, ISBN 978-1-85437-311-3
  • Larousse Dictionary of women, Kingfisher, New York, 1996, ISBN 07523 0015 6


  1. ^ a b "Calton Gallery - Katharine Cameron (Kate Cameron) RSW RE (1874-1965)". www.caltongallery.co.uk.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Addison, Rosemary (2000). "Glasgow Girl: Katharine Cameron's Illustration". Scottish Book Collector. 6:9: 4–7.
  3. ^ Macdonald, Murdo (2020), Patrick Geddes's Intellectual Origins, Edinburgh University Press, p.125
  4. ^ Envelope Books, owu.edu. Retrieved 18 April 2019.

External linksEdit