1920 - 1996

Joan Warburton

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 17 April 1920. Her father retired from the army in 1921 to the outskirts of Colchester, moving further into the countryside in 1925 to a sixteenth century farmhouse. She had been introduced to the atelier of Oswald Poreau (1877-1955) at finishing school in Brussels and decided that painting was something that she wanted to take seriously and the family doctor introduced her to Cedric Morris [q.v.] and in 1937 Joan, known as Maudie' enrolled as one of the first students at the now legendary East Anglian School of Painting & Drawing at Dedham, Essex, which in 1939 was burned down, so the story goes, by fellow student Lucian Freud (1922-2011), and while the students were painting the blackened ruins, Alfred Munnings [q.v.], who also lived at Dedham, drove past crying "down with modern art". The school, which was a mecca for visitors as disparate as Beth Chatto (born 1923), Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Elizabeth David (1913-1992), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), Randolph Churchill (1911-1968), Edward Bawden (1903-1989), John Banting (1902-1972) and Allan Walton [q.v.], 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', in 1942 'Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall'. Joan did war work in the WRENS, in an arms factory and with the Red Cross Cross Ambulance Service when she met her future husband Peter Diamid O'Malley (1917-1994) who had been invalided out of the Army to a hospital in Wales. She often stayed at Benton End during her war service which also took her to London and to Wales, where they married at Brecknock, Brecknockshire in 1945, they had one daughter. They started their married life in a bed-sitter in Harcourt Terrace, London but in 1969 Peter decided to retire and return to Suffolk and they purchased a former old wig-maker's shop, in Stoke-by-Nayland. Joan mounted some ten successful solo exhibitions over the following twenty years with mixed shows such as the Royal Academy, Leicester Galleries and Women's International, she sometimes painted under her married name of O'Malley and in 1960 painted the ruins at Dedham. Joan died at The White House, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk in 1996.

Works by This Artist