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Overlooking the Water to Kandy, Ceylon

35 x 50 cm
Signed. 1874

Constance Frederica Gordon Cumming

Constance Frederica Gordon Cumming (1837–1924) was a Scottish travel writer and painter. The daughter of a wealthy family, she was mostly taught self-taught as an artist although she had help from many reputed artists who used to visit her family home. After spending a year in India in 1867, she became interested in travel. Gordon Cumming was a prolific travel writer and landscape painter who traveled the world and the places she visited include Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, America and Hawaii. In all she painted over a thousand watercolors. Gordon Cumming received much criticism from male writers of the era, perhaps because she did not fit in the traditional Victorian role of women, as she often traveled alone and unaided. Despite the criticism, her landscape drawings and watercolors were universally admired.

Gordon Cumming’s brother John moved to Ceylon in 1845 and managed a coconut plantation in Batticaloa until his death in 1866. Gordon Cumming herself arrived in Ceylon in 1873 where she traveled extensively including a trip to the remote east coast of the island where she visited the grave of her brother. Gordon Cumming wrote about her Ceylon experiences in her book, ‘Two Happy Years in Ceylon’, which was published in 1892.