Bertha Scott (1884-1965)

Bertha Scott
Elkhorn Creek

hand-colored photograph
signed, l.r.
7 3/4 x 12 1/2 inches (photo)
10 1/2 x 15 (frame)


Bertha Scott was a native of Frankfort, Kentucky, and a true Renaissance woman. She had been one of three young girls who had sketched with Paul Sawyier, the others being Jessie Cox Burgess, who designed the commonwealth's flag, and Mary Belle Taylor, of the Franklin County Taylors. Burgess had written of their "many happy memories of him, while out sketching." Scott turned out to be the only one of the three to become a professional artist.

She attended the Science Hill academy in Shelbyville and Wellesley College. She studied art in Cincinnati, as Sawyier had done, and she was a photographer, as Sawyier had been. She painted landscapes and portraits and made her living as a studio photographer. She was also an illustrator and writer, contributing to garden periodicals. She and her sister, Emma, established a preparatory school out of their Shelby Street home in 1908, which lasted for five years. And she was a classical pianist.

Her hand-tinted photographs of Elkhorn Creek and Frankfort's environs, usually framed in Arts and Crafts-era oak moldings, are quite rare.