Katharine Cameron, FRSA RSW ARE (1874-1965) Scottish artist, Katharine Cameron illustrated a number of memorable books for children, as well as producing distinctive paintings and prints of landscapes and flowers. Katharine Cameron was born at Hillhead, Glasgow on 26 February 1874, the daughter of a United Presbyterian minister, and younger sister of the artist, David Young Cameron. She studied intermittently at Glasgow School of Art, under Fra Newbery, from 1889 to 1901, during which time she was a member of a group of female students who called themselves The Immortals. In 1902, she went to Paris to study at the Académie Colarossi, under Gustave Courtois and R F-X Prinet. On her return, she lived with family members at Victoria Square, Stirling. Cameron concentrated on the painting and etching of landscapes and flowers, considering her often fine fairy illustrations for books and periodicals as occasional. Yet, between 1904 and 1910, she worked as a prolific illustrator of children’s books for the Edinburgh publishers, T C & E C Jack, specialising in fairy stories and folk tales for their series, ‘Told to the Children’.
In 1908, Cameron travelled to Italy to prepare for her most important illustration work, for Amy Steed’s Legends and Stories of Italy for Children (1909). On her return, she settled in Edinburgh, working from a studio in Forres Street. Initially, her paintings and illustrations often displayed the inevitable influence of the Glasgow School and its sources, while her etchings resembled and complemented those of her brother. The delicate style of her middle period was influenced by the landscapes of her brother, and of Joseph Crawhall junior and Edwin Alexander. However, she early established herself as a distinctive talent. Indeed, as early as 1900, H C Marillier had devoted an article in the Art Journal to ‘The Romantic Watercolours of Katharine Cameron’. Cameron exhibited widely in Scotland and London, including the Royal Scottish Academy (from 1894) and Royal Academy (from 1921), and solo shows at the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh (1913) and the Fine Art Society (1926). She was elected a member of the Glasgow Society of Lady Artists, the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (1897), the Scottish Society of Artists (1909) and an associate of the Royal Society of Painter- Etchers and Engravers (1920). She was living at Regent Terrace, Edinburgh, by 1921, and it remained her home following her marriage to the businessman and connoisseur, Arthur Kay, in 1928. He died in 1939. In the 1950s, Cameron became close to members of the Edinburgh Group, including William Gillies, and reverted to a more expressive compositional style. She was made a fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1950, and of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1964. She died at Marshall Crescent, Edinburgh, on 21 August 1965.