Katharine Cameron

The Mountain Fern


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Katharine Cameron 1874–1965
Etching and drypoint on paper
Image: 429 × 191 mm
Presented by the artist 1960, accessioned 1987

Catalogue entry

P02947 The Mountain Fern c.1923

Etching and drypoint 429 × 191 (17 × 7 1/2) on paper 551 × 399 (21 1/2 × 15 3/4); printer not known; not editioned
Presented by the artist 1960 and accessioned 1987
Inscribed ‘K. Cameron’ below image b.l. and ‘The Mountain Fern’ below image b.r.; printed inscription ‘K. Cameron’ twice b.l.
Prov: The artist

The Scaley Male Fern, also called the Golden Scaled Male Fern, Dryopteris affinis (Lowe) Fraser-Jenkins, is common in West Scotland and Wales, particularly so in Argyll. Katherine Cameron made a watercolour of this specimen at Connel-Ferry in Argyll, beside Loch Etive about five miles south of Oban, in 1923 (as she says in her letter to the Tate Gallery of 8 Dec. 1959). The fern was painted in the spring, and it is likely that her print was made the same year.

The watercolour was given to the Gallery by her husband in 1930 after it had been shown in her exhibition that year at Walker's Galleries, Flowers and Western Seas: Water-colours by Katherine Cameron, ARE, RSW (N 04513, 508 × 286, 20 × 11 1/4). When much later the Gallery wrote to her, then aged eighty-five, for information about the watercolour for a forthcoming catalogue, she gave a proof of her etching of the subject, which was accepted ‘for the reference section’. It only came to light again when the catalogue entry on the watercolour was being revised, and is itself now catalogued for the first time.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996


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