DUGDALE, Amy Katherine

1881 - 1978

Amy Katherine Browning

As Amy Katherine Browning, she was born at Great Bramingham Hall Farm, near Luton, Bedfordshire on 31 March 1881, second daughter of the eight children of James Day Browning (1858–1933), farm bailiff and later tenant farmer, and his wife, Katherine Lucy née Saunderson (1857–1946). Amy was educated at a small private school in Luton and, because of her early aptitude for drawing, attended weekly drawing lessons but in 1897 the family moved to a remote farm several miles away. In September 1899, Amy, nicknamed Brownie by her contemporaries, entered the Royal College of Art and gained a diploma in the teaching of art. In 1901, Brownie had to leave college to run the household when her mother became pregnant and a year later she applied to the London County Council and won two outside scholarships. On her return to the college, she met and became friends with Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960), later assisting her in the mounting of the Women's Exhibition of 1909 and, during the First World War, worked alongside Pankhurst to raise money and provide work for women in the East End of London. Leaving art college in 1906, in which year had a picture accepted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and apart from the First World War, continued to exhibit there annually for the next sixty-two years. She always signed her paintings A. K. Browning, so the fact that she was female would remain unclear. She supported herself by teaching, but was a productive artist, painting large pictures more suitable for public galleries than domestic interiors, also painting family groups, portraits, as well as flower paintings, still life, and landscapes. When the Paris Salon resumed after the war, she won the gold medal for 'Lime Tree Shade' (Ipswich Museum) in 1922 and continued to exhibit there through the 1920s and 1930s as well as at other major exhibitions all over the world. Amy also exhibited widely in Britain including an extensive exhibition at her birth county at Wardown Museum, Luton in 1954. Elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil-Painters; the New English Art Club; the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the Society of Women Artists. Brownie's style was ‘British Impressionist’ with a wonderfully subtle feeling of light in all her work. Whilst at the Royal College, Brownie had met Thomas Cantrell Dugdale, and they married at St Mary Boltons, Kensington, London on 15 June 1916. In 1939, an artist, living with her husband at Poplar Farmhouse, High Street, Wickham Market, Suffolk, her husband spent most weekdays at their studio flat in London. In 1943, as Miss A. K. Browning, R.O.I., she exhibited at the Ipswich Art Club an oil, 'Adieu to Iken' and she later moved to Iken, near Snape, Suffolk where she painted and gardened. Tommy Dugdale died in 1952, when Amy gave up their house in Suffolk and spent the next twenty-three years mainly in their rented Chelsea studio flat, but often returned on painting trips to Valley Farm, Walberswick, the then home of Michael Jeans (born 1922), but thereafter painted mainly family groups and portraits, including one of Lady Churchill. In 1975 she had a stroke and went to live with her youngest sister at 11 Munts Meadow, Weston, Hertfordshire and she died at St Catherine's Nursing Home, Letchworth on 27 January 1978, at the age of ninety-six. Examples of her work are held in Luton Museum and Art Gallery; Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery; Ipswich Museum and Art Gallery; Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow; and the Royal Academy collection, London. She signed her works 'A. K. Browning'.

Works by This Artist