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 Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming  (1837 - 1924)



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Lived/Active: Hawaii/California / Scotland/United Kingdom      Known for: landscape painting, illustration

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Ad Code: 3
Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming
from Auction House Records.
The Khylas Peaks and village of Pangi three miles above CHINE on the Sutledge
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Landscape painter and author Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming, the twelfth of fifteen children of Sir William and Eliza (Campbell) Gordon-Cumming, was born on May 26, 1837, in Altyre, Scotland. She grew up in Northumberland, England, and was educated at Fulham in London. Although not formally trained in art and basically self taught, she was influenced by her artistic mother and the aristocratic people who visited her home including artists Sir Edwin Lanseer and Sir William Ross, from whom she learned to paint in oil and watercolor. By her own count she would paint, during her lifetime, five-hundred large landscapes and a similar number of smaller ones.

A visit to India in 1868 at the invitation of a relative, opened the world to Gordon-Cumming, who, during the next twelve years took her painting supplies with her as she traveled to Ceylon, China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. While in Ceylon, she climbed Adam's Peak, and in Japan, Mount Fujiyama. She first visited California in 1878, and on April 30, she wrote from Yosemite Valley, "the first glimpse of this extraordinary combination of granite crags and stupendous waterfalls, showed me plainly that it would take me weeks to make acquaintance with them, and that if I fail to do so, I shall regret it all my life."

Originally intending to visit for a few days, she extended her stay to three months, painting such works as "Nevada Falls", "Merced River", "Yosemite Valley"; "Barnard's Hotel", and "Indian Life at Mirror Lake". Her output from that period included 50 watercolors and 25 drawings. The next year, she spent a month in Hawaii painting the volcanoes.

She wrote many books and articles about her years abroad, including "Granite Crags of California", 1886, in which she related her experiences in Yosemite Valley. In 1904 she published her autobiography, "Memories".

Gordon-Cumming's work is in the collections of Yosemite National Park and the Oakland Museum, California.

The artist died September 4, 1924, in Crieff, Scotland.

Phil Kovinick, Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West"

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"

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Artists who painted Hawaii

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