Hester Frood, one of DY Cameron’s rare pupils, carried on her teacher’s architectural etching tradition, albeit in a looser and simpler manner. Born in New Zealand in 1882, Hester came to England as a child, growing up near Exeter in Devon. A chance meeting with DY Cameron on a trip to Scotland in 1906 changed her life. Cameron was so impressed with her artwork that he told her “to draw and draw”, and he offered to teach her etching. Her studies with Cameron bore fruit, and she developed an etching style that blended elements of Cameron’s art with her own personal vision. During her later years she exhibited frequently at the Royal Scottish Academy and at the Royal Academy in London. Her etchings can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Scottish National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Yale Center for British Art. In 1990, almost 20 years after her death, the Fry Gallery held an exhibition of her work.
Bill and I just acquired this etching that she did in Dinant, Belgium, in a clear homage to her teacher, Cameron, who produced a famous series of etchings from that Walloon city. Her etchings typically sell for many hundreds of pounds — beyond our purse! — but this lovely original etching was mislabelled “Hester Brood” and priced at £6. It is of the Porte des pelicans in Dinant. The brooding emphasis on the worked stone, the elaborate carvings, the strong shadows, and the faint trace of a person in the distance all echo her famous mentor.