Amy Dillwyn 1845 - 1935 Painting by Kate Milsom

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Amy Dillwyn 1845 - 1935

Kate Milsom

United Kingdom


Size: 27.5 W x 24 H x 2 in

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Art Description

Painting: Oil, Gesso on Wood.

Oil & mixed media on gesso board

Elizabeth Amy Dillwyn, born into a family of liberal and Quaker values, was a Welsh novelist, businesswoman, and social benefactor. She was one of the first female industrialists in Britain.

When the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies was formed at the turn of the century, Dillwyn joined as one of the earliest supporters in Wales. She commanded enormous respect during her lifetime through her determination to work for social justice and the public good. Her unorthodox appearance in trilby hat and stout boots, her habitual smoking of cigars and her lifestyle in general drew the attention of the press throughout her life, with the Pall Mall Gazette naming her “one of the most remarkable women in Great Britain”.

Amy Dillwyn represented (right) in 1892, dressed in a bright purple skirt, sporting a yellow rose in her belt and flowers in her hat to attend the public funeral of her father, the eminent Liberal MP, Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn. This was a bold and purposeful statement on her part where strict black mourning was the norm, and created a scandal in the national press. Dillwyn was protesting against the Victorian cult of death, whose conventions demanded elaborate funeral and mourning arrangements, and which plunged working-class families into debt as they struggled to purchase all the trappings a “respectable” send-off required. Much to her amusement, her nonconformity continued to be noted throughout her life, with newspaper headlines such as “Woman and the Cigar: A Literary Business Woman who Delights in the Weed”. Unperturbed by public opinion as to ‘lady-like’ behaviour she led a trip to Algeria at the age of 59, visiting mines and riding astride a donkey into the Atlas Mountains to secure supplies of calamine for the Spelter Works.

Original work available through The Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff and Gala Fine Art, Bristol