Thursday, 25 July 2013

Katharine Cameron
1875 -1965
The Garden Books by Edward Augustus Bowles (1865 -1954)

Edward Bowles was one of the 20th Century's great gardeners, largely self taught but by 1916 had been awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society and has 42 plants named after him. He wrote three books about his garden; My Garden in Spring, My Garden in Summer (both published in 1914), and My Garden in Autumn and Winter (published in 1915). They have been reprinted many times and are still in print today. The bindings for the first editions were designed by Katharine Cameron (1874 - 1965) and are signed with either her initials 'KC' or as ' K Cameron' on the lower part of the front board. Cameron studied at the Glasgow School of Art (1890 -1893) and was an accomplished artist, illustrator and close friend of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret MacDonald. The binding for ' My Garden in Autumn and Winter' is particularly stunning and I love the use of colour and the trail of petals which is repeated on the spines. I presume that she must have been a friend of Bowles, as she is known for her flower paintings as well as her interest in flowers and it would be lovely to know more. The bindings are probably her lesser known works and as such can be picked up fairly cheaply still. The books are lavishly illustrated throughout by artists of the day (although not by Katharine Cameron).

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