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Dickey, Edward Montgomery O'Rorke

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Biography: Edward Montgomery O'Rorke Dickey (1894-1977) was born in Belfast. He attended at Trinity College, Cambridge, before studying painting at the Westminster School of Art under Harold Gilman (1876–1919), a founder of the post-impressionist Camden Town Group. Dickey was a member of the Belfast Art Society and in London he exhibited with the Leicester Galleries, the New English Art Club and the Redfern Gallery. In Dublin, his work was shown at the New Irish Salon and, with Paul Henry (1877–1958) and Jack B. Yeats (1871 –1957) amongst others, he was a founding member of the Society of Dublin Painters. In 1920, with a group of artists including Paul Nash (1889–1946), Noel Rooke (1881-1953) and Robert Gibbings (1889-1958), Dickey was one of the founders of the Society of Wood Engravers in London, its purpose being to promote wood-engraving as an art form. Along with Nash, Dickey was part of a subcommittee formed to encourage publishers to employ original wood-engravers as book illustrators. One of their supporters was Thomas Balston (1883-1967), the director of the publishers Duckworth and Co., a wood engraving enthusiast and historian. In 1922, Balston selected one of Dickey’s prints for his anthology of modern wood engraving ‘Contemporary English Woodcuts’. In 1923, Duckwork and Co. published ‘Workers’ by the Belfast born writer Richard Rowley (1877-1947; pseudonym of Richard Valentine Williams) which was illustrated with Dickey’s modernist woodcuts. From the late 1920s, Dickey focused on his role as an educator and became professor of fine art and director of King Edward VII School of Art, Armstrong College, Durham University, from 1926 to 1931. He was later appointed inspector of art from 1931 to 1957 for the Ministry of Education in Britain. During WWII he became secretary of the War Artists Advisory Committee. In 1952, Dickey was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

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