Sir David Young Cameron (artist)1910

Te Papa

Te Papa
Wellington, New Zealand

D.Y. Cameron was a successful painter and a very influential etcher. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art before joining life classes at the Royal Scottish Academy. His work was acclaimed in Edinburgh, London, Berlin and Munich. During the First World War, Cameron was appointed official war artist to the Canadian government and in 1933 was made the King's Painter in Scotland. Cameron was highly sought after by collectors until the Great Crash of 1929 brought a collapse in prices for prints in general. Despite his excellence as a printmaker, his work still remains underrated both in art historical and market terms.

Strong tonal contrasts characterise his prints and his stark and dramatic paintings, which are mainly landscapes and cityscapes. His prints often feature areas of great darkness, offset by highlights. Cameron’s etchings are notable for their use of drypoint, a skill that he had mastered over his years of production. This is particularly evident in his studies of church interiors and Scottish landscapes.

This is lively urban scene that pays attention to quaint old picturesque architectural elements, such as the mansard roof and the shadow cast by the building out of frame on the right. Cameron uses detailed drypoint marks to create the textures of the different building materials. Beauvais is one of two prints Cameron made of the French city held within Te Papa’s collection, the other being The Old Museum, Beauvais (1917) (1970-0019-4).


Arthur M. Hind, The Etchings of D.Y. Cameron (London; Halton and Truscott Smith, 1924)

The British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1551019&partId=1&searchText=David+Young+Cameron&view=list&page=2

National Galleries Scotland, https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/artists/sir-david-young-cameron

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Young_Cameron

Dr Mark Stocker   Curator, Historical International Art   December 2017


  • Title: Beauvais
  • Creator: Sir David Young Cameron (artist)
  • Date Created: 1910
  • Physical Dimensions: plate: 218mm (width), 280mm (height)
  • Provenance: Gift of Sir John Ilott, 1970
  • Subject Keywords: British
  • Rights: No Known Copyright Restrictions
  • External Link: Te Papa Collections Online
  • Medium: etching and drypoint
  • Support: paper
  • Registration ID: 1970-0019-3

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