Discipline: Visual Art – painting

Katharine Bertram

Discipline: Visual Art – painting
MacDowell Fellowships: 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946

Katharine Bertram (1908-1971) was an English-American painter and visual artist. She attended Tiffin Girls’ School and then the Kingston School of Art in the late 1920’s. Afterwards she attended the Royal College of Art to study book design. At the RCA she met Reco Capey, a design teacher there and they married in 1936. Reco Capey was chief designer at Yardley’s of London, and Katharine designed the Yardley bee, which was used by the company for many years. During this period she began to develop her own style of collage or “paper paintings,” which she produced under the name Katharine Bertram, although she used the name Capey in her day-to-day life. She moved with her husband to New York in 1940, when Yardley moved their operations because of the war in Europe. Katharine and Reco were both admitted to MacDowell in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where they met and were encouraged by its founder, Marian MacDowell. Katharine exhibited in in both New York (Argent Galleries) and Philadelphia. Her letters home from this period indicate that the paintings were selling well and that she was producing a lot of them. She returned to England in 1946, after her divorce from Reco Capey. She continued to work on her paper paintings, as well as doing freelance design work, and exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in London and in a gallery in Brighton, and was featured in the Illustrated London News in 1948. Unfortunately, in the difficult circumstances of the post war period in England, Katharine was unable to sell any paintings, and eventually gave up producing them, making a living from dressmaking and gardening for the remainder of her life.



Katharine Bertram worked in the Adams studio.

Given to the MacDowell Association by Margaret Adams of Chicago, the half-timbered, stuccoed Adams Studio was designed by MacDowell Fellow and architect F. Tolles Chamberlin ca. 1914. Chamberlin was primarily a painter, but also provided designs for the Lodge and an early renovation of the main hall. The studio’s structural integrity was restored during a thorough renovation in…

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