A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Dorothie HEWLETT 1918 - 2011

Biography

Dorothie 'Dickie' Hewlett (1918-2011) was born in what is now South Africa. Dorothie was raised at Kelton House on the banks of the River Nith near Dumfries in Scotland. After studying at the Edinburgh College of Art, she worked during the Second World War for Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in Glasgow, making drawings for the Merlin engine which was to power the iconic Spitfire. She met her future husband Roy Hewlett, then serving as navigating officer on HMS Clarkia, a corvette based on the River Clyde, from where he would set sail to escort the Atlantic convoys. They married in 1947 and moved to Birmingham. Roy pursued his business career, Dorothie taught art to disadvantaged and learning disabled children.

In 1957, she received a testimonial letter from Braidwood School, a school for deaf children in Birmingham. The headmaster wrote: “She was quick to notice special artistic ability and able to develop it..... Mrs Hewlett did not confine her teaching within the classroom but took our groups and classes to visit exhibitions in the Art Gallery and at the School of Art.”

As the century moved into its sixth decade, Dorothie & Roy spent a year or so in freezing Minnesota, USA, where Roy’s work for the 3M Company had taken him. Dickie took full advantage of this posting to travel widely across the States. On their return to London Dorothie continued to teach art to young children and to epileptics. She also undertook voluntary work for the old London County Council and for Hammersmith Council.

Dorothie not only taught art, she was a painter in her own right. She painted mainly in watercolours, her subjects reflecting the many parts of the world where she and her husband travelled. Her native Dumfriesshire, feluccas on the Nile, or the Doge’s Palace in Venice were particular favourites, not to mention serene still lifes and studies of flora. Her practice and appreciation of art continued throughout her life and it was always a source of great pleasure to her. She and Roy were keen collectors of art, by the 1960s, when they had settled permanently in London, they gradually began to assemble a comprehensive collection of oils, watercolours, lithographs, etchings and other print media works. Their collection includes pieces by Joan Eardley, Sir William George Gillies, William Gear, Elizabeth Blackadder, Sir Robin Philipson, and Christian Jane (Chris) Fergusson and Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, showing their keen interest in Scottish art. They were also fortunate enough to acquire works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse and Georges Braque. The remainder of the collection is simply a reflection of their personal taste and interest. They would regularly meet many of these artists (such as the CoBRa artist William Gear, Cheong Soo Pieng and Adrian Berg) and followed their careers with great interest.

After her husband’s death in 1999, Dorothie continued to travel throughout the world to visit places as far flung as the Amazon, Tanzania, St Petersburg and Australia. Her interest in art, her family and her many friends remained vibrant until the end.