Edward Montgomery O’Rorke Dickey (1894-1977)

Edward Montgomery O’Rorke Dickey (1894-1977)


Edward Montgomery O’Rourke Dickey was born in Belfast. He obtained his Master’s degree from Cambridge University and studied painting under Harold Gilman at the Westminster School of Art. Dickey was professor of fine art and director of King Edward VII School of Art, Armstrong College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1926-31. He was then staff inspector of art from 1931-57 for the Ministry of Education, and from 1939-42 was secretary of the War Artist’s Advisory Committee, joining the committee in 1942. Dickey became the first curator of The Minories, Colchester a post he held for five years. He painted extensively on the continent, and showed at the RA, NEAC


Like the work of the Camden Town Group prevalent between 1911-1913 O’Rourke’s Kentish Town Railway Junction celebrates the daily life of the modern city. The manufactured setting embraces the growing trend of urbanisation and yet, is strangely devoid of human intervention lending the scene a melancholy air. At first ordered and angular, Kentish Town Railway Junction is driven by the vertical lines of the track, which paradoxically pass by soft green bushes to the trees on the horizon. The vermillion red engine invigorates the summery-hued canvas: its sheer boldness de-centralising the canvas; its cloud-white smoke billowing idealistically to the sky.


UPSTONE, Robert, Modern Painters: The Camden Town Group, Tate Gallery, London, 2007

Charlotte Hodgson