Artist Profile

Dorothy Kate Richmond

Born 1861, Died 1935

Dorothy Richmond spent most of her childhood in Nelson and at the age of 17 gained a Slade Scholarship (the Slade becoming one of the more advanced art schools in England) and for two years worked under Alphonse Legros. In the early 1880s D. K. Richmond returned to New Zealand to teach drawing at the Nelson College for Girls. She once again left for Europe in 1885 to continue training and painting. Although family ties brought her home again on at least two occasions, she returned to England for an extended period after the death of her father in 1898 studying at the Newlyn School of Art under Elizabeth and Stanhope Forbes.

She took up the plein air approach to painting and with Frances Hodgkins travelled to Europe for the first time. Their respective families were well acquainted and the two women became close friends travelling together not only in England, but also in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland, before returning to New Zealand in December 1903. After an exhibition of continental studies held at McGregor Wrights Gallery in Wellington, both women set themselves up in a studio and launched out as teachers and painters. For Frances Hodgkins the venture was to be short-lived but for Richmond it soon became a long-term commitment to the arts in Wellington.

For three decades she was a regular feature of the Wellington art scene, her main strength undoubtedly being watercolours, not only flowers but also panoramic landscapes, outdoor scenes with figures, animals, and groups of trees. Her broad handling of the medium and clear colours showed her interest in impressionism and which can be attributed to the influence of James Nairn.

D K Richmond exhibited with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts from 1885 was a Council Member from 1904. Her work is represented in all the major New Zealand galleries including the Turnbull and Hocken Libraries.

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