1920 - 1996

Joan Warburton

Joan Warburton was born at Edinburgh on 17 April 1920, daughter of William Melvill Warburton (7 June 1877-26 July 1952), an officer in the Indian Army, and his second wife Muriel Frances née Henderson (16 November 1891-15 August 1971), who married at St John's Church, Edinburgh on 10 October 1912, William had married his first wife, Yda Frances Vanrenen (4 October 1879-2 October 1907) at Bengal, India on 16 April 1906, Yda died at Bengal in 1907, aged 27. Joan's father retired from the army in 1921 to the outskirts of Colchester, Essex and in 1925 moved to a 16th century farmhouse in the countryside and in 1939 were living at Lower Dairy House, Water Lane, Nayland, Suffolk. Joan had been introduced to the studio of Oswald Poreau (1877-1955) whilst at finishing school in Brussels and decided to take art seriously and, back in Suffolk, the local doctor introduced her to Cedric Morris and in 1937 Joan, known as 'Maudie', enrolled as one of the first students at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing then at Dedham, Essex. The Dedham studio was burned down in 1939, so the story goes by a cigarette of a fellow student Lucian Freud and while the students were painting in the blackened ruins, Alfred Munnings, who also lived at Dedham, used to drive past crying "down with modern art". The school, which was a mecca for visitors as disparate as Beth Chatto (1923-2018), Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), Randolph Churchill (1911-1968), Edward Bawden and Allan Walton, was relocated to Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk. Joan exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club in 1941, two works 'Ipswich Docks 1939' and 'Still Life 1941' and in 1942 'Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall'. Joan did war work in the WRENS, in an arms factory and with the Red Cross Ambulance Service when she met her future husband, Peter Diarmuid O'Malley (1917-18 August 1994), a ceramics lecturer at the Royal College of Art, who had been invalided out of the Army to a hospital in Wales. During her war service Joan often stayed at Benton End and her service also took her to London and to Wales where O'Malley and Warburton married at Brecknock in 1945, they had one son, Liam. Their married life started in a bed-sit in Harcourt Terrace, London and in 1969, when Peter decided to retire, they returned to Suffolk purchasing a former old wig-maker's shop in Stoke-by-Nayland. Joan mounted some ten successful solo exhibitions over the following twenty years, also exhibiting at the Royal Academy, the Leicester Galleries and Women's International and elsewhere, she sometimes painted under her married name of O'Malley. Joan O'Malley died at The White House, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk on 31 July 1996.

Royal Academy Exhibits
from 29b Redcliffe Square, London SW
1946 394 Narcissi
         485 Still Life with Victorian Embroidery
from 21 Marloes Road, London SW
1947 645 The Boltons
1951 164 Green Corn in Suffolk
1957 30 Farm in Provence
         695 London Pigeons
1959 546 Road in Kensington
from 40 Radnor Walk, London SW
1961 257 Chelsea Washing Day
1970 522 Sea Gull and Stones

Works by This Artist