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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

BUTLER, Grace née Camming 1887–1962

BUTLER, Grace née Camming 1887–1962

Born at Richmond Grove, Invercargill, to Scottish immigrant parents Jane and William Cumming. Her father had died when she was about three, and though she first went to Invercargill Middle School, once her eldest sister got a teaching position at Norsewood School her family moved with her, and Grace Cumming went to Norsewood School where she was dux in 1902. When in 1883 the sister was moved to Gisborne the family went with her, and Grace, whose talents for drawing had always been recognised, went to Napier Art School until about 1907 when she already worked on the staff. She took private pupils in Gisborne. 1910–14 went to Canterbury School of Art where she won scholarships. Her teachers were Sydney Thompson (life), C. F. Kelly (still life), L. Booth (drawing) and F. Guernsey (modelling). In 1911 had married Guy Raphael Butler; page 59 both henceforth in Christchurch except in about 1918–21 when she moved to Auckland for her health. A coach trip in 1916 opened up for her the beauties of the mountain region and the Butlers bought a mountain shack at Arthur's Pass. She never painted from notes but always on the spot, sometimes had four or five paintings going showing a view in different types of weather. She would stand in the snow on a covering over heated stones. She took refresher studies from Sydney Thompson about 1925 when he returned from France, Died in Wellington. Exhibited with local societies regularly 1916–60; in British Empire Ex 1924 at Wembley; International Art Club, Festival of Britain 1951; in Sydney; a one man show was held at H. Fisher's Gallery Chch 1960. Represented: major New Zealand galleries, Suter, Waikato Art Museum, and Invercargill Public Art Gallery.