Sir David Young Cameron ~ Painter

“Sir David Young Cameron (born June 28, 1865 in Glasgow, Scotland, died in Perth, Scotland on September 16, 1945 – he died whilst in Perth to give a sermon at St. John’s Kirk) is a Scottish painter and etcher. He was trained at the Glasgow and Edinburgh Schools of Art in the 1880s. From 1887-1892 he was a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers. It was during this time that he published a number of sets of etchings (such as “The Clyde Set”, “The North Holland Set” and “The North Italian Set”). In general his prints feature areas of great darkness, offset by highlights. Cameron would later become known for his church interiors and barren landscapes of Scotland done in drypoint. The feathery lightness of these drypoints was in visual contrast with the rock and water of the subjects. He became highly sought after by collectors, until the Great Crash in 1929 brought a collapse in prices for prints in general. He exploited his popularity by producing an unprecedented number of states of his prints, and is believed to hold the record at twenty-eight states in one case. Cameron became a Royal Academician in 1920.”

“Scottish etcher and painter Sir David Young Cameron was born in Glasgow in 1865. In the early 1880s, he trained at the Glasgow and Edinburgh Schools of Art and was associated with the Glasgow Boys. Cameron became a leader in the Scottish etching revival. He was a member of the Royal Society of Painters-Etchers from 1887- 1892. His first published prints were the Clyde Set, (20 celebrated views of the river Clyde), followed by the London Set and a number of continental sets, including North Holland, North Italian, Paris and Belgium. His prints depict many architectural subjects and landscapes. He produced over 500 etchings and was knighted in 1924 and made the King’s Painter in Scotland in 1933. Sir David Young Cameron (1865-1945) was a British master of landscape and architectural views. He was trained at the Edinburgh School of Art, became an Associate Engraver at the Royal Academy in London in 1911, where he was elected to the position of Academician in 1920. His landscapes and architectural views, though often devoid of human figures, have a very human feel; the influence and presence of humans is always evident. He was greatly influenced by the somber beauty of his native Scotland, and his prints have a rich, dark tone that reflects this. His more famous works include views of British architecture and interior cathedral views, while his gargoyle etchings pay homage to the great French etcher Charles Meryon. Cameron spent his time traveling throughout the countryside in search of romantic subject matter, and he completed five hundred plates between 1892-1909.”

The following prints are all etchings. Numbers preceded by “R” refer to the prints listed in Frank Rinder’s book D. Y. Cameron, An Illustrated Catalogue of Etchings and Drypoints, 1887-1932, 1932. All are signed in pencil, unless otherwise noted.“Perth Bridge.” 1889. 6 1/2 x 9 7/8. State II. Signed in plate. R28. “The Old Revenge.” (large plate). 1889. 10 7/8 x 16 1/4. State II. Ed:100. R50. “Thames Barge.” 1890. 9 x 5 3/4. R65. State II. “White Horse Close, Edinburgh.” 1891. 4 1/14 x 7 1/8. R86.“St. Enoch’s Square, No. 22, Glasgow.” 1891. 4 7/8 x 7. R105.”The Broomielaw.” 1892. 7 x 13 3/8. R112.”Perthshire: Interior.” 1893. 7 x 10. R175.

“Sir David Young Cameron: Rightly regarded as one of the greatest masters of the British school of landscape and architectural etching, David Young Cameron started his career in business while studying part-time at the Glasgow School of Art. He abandoned his career in commerce at the age of twenty and produced his first etching two years later. By the time he created his last etching (1932), Cameron had left an oeuvre of exactly 500 works of art, many of which are now considered as masterworks of original graphic art. David Young Cameron was a full member of the Royal Academy, the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Engravers. He was also knighted for his contribution to British art. Most of Cameron’s early works of art, committed purely in etching, depict Scottish scenes. From 1892 to 1909, however, he frequently visited the Continent and created many views in Holland, France, Italy and Egypt. After 1911 Cameron again almost entirely devoted his art to the Scottish landscape. Yet, unlike his earlier views, the medium he chose was drypoint, with its rich, tonal contrasts and deep, velvety lines. Kenneth Guichard writes, “It has been considered by some that Cameron’s greatest achievement as an etcher lay in the last Scottish drypoints. … These last Scottish landscapes are not so much statements compelled by passion as the result of quiet contemplation and a measured love.” * (Kenneth M. Guichard, British Etchers: 1850-1940, London, Robin Garton Ltd., 1981, p. 32). Although many fine reference books have been written upon the etched art of D. Y. Cameron, confusion still prevails as to the edition size of many of his plates. With the exception of a few, unsigned etchings he submitted to arts periodicals like the Studio, almost all were published in very small editions of twenty-five or less. This was particularly true of the last drypoints, such as, Ralia, for unless the plate is steel-faced, a drypoint will only yield a maximum of twenty satisfactory impressions. Also, Cameron was a most meticulous artist. Many of his etchings and drypoints exist in a number of states, which were printed in only one to five impressions for each alteration to the plate. Ralia is known to exist in at least five states and in all probability less than five impressions were printed for every state.”

Perth Museum & Art Gallery
D Y Cameron Master of Landscape Start date 19/05/07  End date 28/07/07   Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

Landscape art by one of Scotland’s leading 20th century artists.

This exhibition brings together two collections of works by Sir David Young Cameron (1865-1945) one of Scotland’s leading landscape painters of the 20th century.

Drawn from the collections of Perth Museum & Art Gallery and The National Gallery of Scotland.