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Watercolour - Berwick-Upon-Tweed
  • Berwick-Upon-Tweed
    Cameron, David Young Sir, RA RSA RWS RSW, born 1865 - died 1945
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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1925 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cameron, David Young Sir, RA RSA RWS RSW, born 1865 - died 1945 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Coloured chalk with watercolour wash on brown paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case WD, shelf 61, box C (1)

Physical description

Coloured chalk with watercolour wash on brown paper depicting Berwick-Upon-Tweed, with small rowing boats and a pier. Signed by the artist.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)


ca. 1925 (made)


Cameron, David Young Sir, RA RSA RWS RSW, born 1865 - died 1945 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Coloured chalk with watercolour wash on brown paper

Marks and inscriptions

D Y Cameron
Signed in the foreground bottom right


Height: 8.3125 in, Width: 13.5 in

Object history note

Historical Significance:

Painter and Etcher, Cameron inherited his artistic talent from his mother, Margaret, who was a keen amateur watercolourist. From 1874-1881 he attended the Glasgow Academy. In his final year began classes at the Glasgow School of Art, which he continued after he began work as a clerk in an iron foundry. In 1884, against his father’s wishes, Cameron decided to become a painter and enrolled at the Trustee’s Academy in Edinburgh, where he remained until 1887. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts in 1886. He first came to prominence as an etcher, which he had taken up in 1887. He produced about 520 drypoint etchings during his career, mainly of landscapes and architectural subjects. He was made associate engraver of the Royal Academy in 1911. Five years later he was associate painter, making him the only person to hold this double distinction. Originally Cameron produced portraits in oil and watercolour. However he was never satisfied with his representation of the human form and from 1899 focussed predominantly on landscapes and townscapes in these mediums. He uses strong lines and tonal relationships to build up his landscapes. In the 1920s and 1930s he became one of the best known painters in England and Scotland. He was knighted in 1924 and appointed the King’s painter and limner in Scotland in 1933.

This view looks across the river Tweed to the market town of Berwick, situated in Northumberland close to the Scottish border. In the middle ground, beyond the boats on the river Tweed, is the Old Bridge, constructed in sandstone between 1611 and 1624. Beyond this is the Royal Border Bridge, designed by the engineer Robert Stevenson for the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway, and built between 1847 and 1850.

Cameron has used the support of cockled brown paper as a mid ground for this drawing. Typically for his work, he has built up the composition through a sequence of lines, which here record the linear qualities of the bridges and surrounding landscape. Cameron preferred to represent landscapes devoid of what he felt was trivial inconsequential detail. This is evident here where coloured chalks sketch out the view. The foreground figures are also loosely sketched out. These, and the boats they drag from the river, are used to show the line of the river, which effectively draws the eye into the composition.

Descriptive line

Coloured chalk with watercolour wash on brown paper depicting Berwick-Upon-Tweed by Sir David Young Cameron. Great Britain, ca. 1925.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1925, London: Board of Education, 1926.


Brown paper; Watercolour; Coloured chalk


Watercolour drawing

Subjects depicted

Coastal towns; Landscapes; Piers


Paintings; Landscapes


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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