Famous Victorian photographer and great-aunt of artist Vanessa Stephen BELL and author Virginia Stephen WOOLF. Photographs were taken by Cameron in Cornwall, who also recorded the Stephens family during summers at Talland House, St Ives (and London).
Virginia Woolf later wrote a play Freshwater, based on the bohemian lifestyle of Cameron and friends on the Isle of Wight. Her home, Dimbola, is now maintained by the National Trust in her name.
In the 1891 Census for Halsetown, just outside St Ives, a Mary Lovett Cameron is listed as living at North Terrace (back of), the single head of household, aged 42, an author, born Wavertree, Lancashire. (The artist had arrived in St Ives from Ireland by 1891, a great deal longer an established resident than suspected previously.)
She rented a studio and wrote articles about art, and in 1913 was the author of Umbria, Past & Present. In the summers she sailed to Brittany with the fishermen and rented a studio for the season. Having joined the Arts Club in St Ives, she was successful in getting some recognition for women artists: the rules were amended to provide the exclusive use for ladies on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. In 1918 she was elected the Librarian of the Club, the first woman to hold that office. Mary Lovett CAMERON is one of the signatories of the Glanville Letter (1898).
Zoe Cameron studied art at Maidenhead College (1975-7) and Gloucestershire College of Art & Design, Cheltenham (1977-80). In Cornwall she lectured at the Falmouth School of Art, continuing the exhibiting she had begun with the Cheltenham Group at the Cheltenham Art Gallery. She also showed work at Cirencester.
In St Ives she had solo shows at the Salthouse Gallery, and joined the NSA (remains a member 2009), showing work regularly at NAG. Her work has also been exhibited at the Rainyday Gallery, Penzance. Cameron's easily recognisable paintings are evocative of the human condition in all its various manifestations, offered with wit and political savvy. She often depicts herself or the face that 'haunts' her.
Cameron's highly acclaimed interpretations of the 'Stations of the Cross' were on view in 2013 in Truro Cathedral.
A painting by this artist, entitled Laetitia and a Cornish Tin Mine (1967) is included in the collection of Cornwall County.
Melanie taught classes in botanical illustration at the Penzance School of Art, and for two years at Trevelyan House, Penzance (2003-4). She and her business partner, Vaughan WARREN then set up the PZag Gallery on New Street, Penzance, which ran up until about 2008 when it changed hands.