Artist profile: Dorothy Carleton Smyth

Every month, I profile an artist who inspires my own art,
in several segments.

Self Portrait (1921)
Self Portrait (1921)

I first discovered Dorothy Carleton Smyth (1880-1933) while watching Antiques Road Show, which I will expand upon next week. I was very impressed with her Art Nouveau illustration style and resolved to find more of her work.

It turns out that there is very little information about her, so I hope my articles will provide a starting spot for anyone researching her. She was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the daughter of a jute manufacturer (a vegetable fiber that can be made into rope). Her sister, Olive Carleton Smyth, was also an artist; I assume their mother’s maiden name was Carleton. Dorothy also went by “Dodo” and “D. Carleton Smyth”.

Her education was in Manchester, the Glasgow School of Art, and unspecified places in Europe. An unnamed woman payed for her to travel outside of Great Britain. In 1901, while at the Glasgow School of Art, her stained glass artwork Tristan and Isolde appeared in the International Exhibition.

Smyth contributed many illustrations to books as well as designing theatre costumes. She traveled with the Quinlan Opera Company, most likely from 1912 to 1914, which included eight weeks in Australia and three weeks in Canada.* She designed for companies in London, Paris, and Sweden, as well as Shakespeare Festivals in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Although she may have been teaching already, Smyth became the Principal of Commercial Art at Glasgow School of Art in 1914. In 1933 she would have been the first female director of the School, but unfortunately she died of unknown causes before officially becoming director.**

Any information you, my readers, can provide – with proper citation, of course – is very welcome. Just leave a comment!

This month I will be talking about Smyth’s pieces from Antiques Roadshow, her historic-themed illustrations, and other subjects she drew. Stay tuned!

Cupid's Garden (1909)
Cupid’s Garden (1909)

*See Thomas Quinlan
**See The Glasgow Story

Other parts in the Dorothy Carleton Smyth artist profile series
Antiques Roadshow
Historical subjects
Other subjects



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