Dorothy (Betts) Seely-Smith

1890 - 1961Artist Oil Painting

Other Names: Dorothy Betts, Dorothy Seely-Smith; Mrs. E.A. Seely-Smith

Dorothy (Betts) Seely-Smith was one of eight artists whose work created the foundation for a city art collection for London, Ontario in 1926.

Dorothy Seely-Smith (née Betts) was born in 1890 in London, Ontario. She began her training in art with private lessons from local artists Caroline Farncomb and Florence Carlyle. Betts and fellow London artist Eva Bradshaw (another one of Carlyle’s students, who may have been her chaperone), travelled to New York City, to study at the New York School of Art. Robert Henri, who had also taught Florence Carlyle, was among their instructors. Next, Seely-Smith spent three years in Paris (1911 to 1914), studying under Madame Lefarge, and in 1913 exhibited in the spring Paris Salon. She returned to London 1914, mere months before World War I began.

In 1924, Dorothy Seely-Smith married Colonel Edward A. Seeley-Smith. The following year, she began exhibiting her work in London, first at the Western Fair and then at a November exhibition hosted by the Nicholas Wilson chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.).

In 1926 Seely-Smith was one of eight artists who, organized by the I.O.D.E., each provided a work of art to create the foundation for a city art collection; other Western Art League members involved included Eva Bradshaw, Caroline Farncomb, and Albert Templar. That same year not only would Seely-Smith be included in another I.O.D.E. exhibition in November, but she also held a summer solo exhibition of 21 works at the London Public Library, corresponding with the celebration of London’s Centennial.

Before she and her husband moved to Victoria, British Columbia in 1947, Dorothy Seely-Smith took part in numerous shows, including the 1932 Women’s Canadian Club exhibition, in addition to those with the Western Art League, and at the Western Fair and the annual Western Ontario Exhibition.

Dorothy Seely-Smith passed away in 1961 in Victoria, British Columbia.

Biography by Natalka Duncan and Luvneet K. Rana

 

SOURCES

“Attractive Landscape Exhibits at Willow Hall All This Week.”
The London Free Press, November 23, 1926.

Butlin, Susan. The Practice of Her Profession: Florence Carlyle, Canadian Painter in the Age of Impressionism. Montreal, Ontario: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2009.

“Canadian Club Sponsors Exhibit: Local Artists Work to Be Seen at Hotel March 4.” The London Advertiser, February 26, 1932.

“Fair Art Exhibit Makes Record.” The London Evening Free Press, September 14, 1925.

Geddes Poole, Nancy. The Art of London, 1830-1980.  London, Ontario: Blackpool Press, 1984.

Getty, Cassandra. “Artist Info: Dorothy Seely-Smith.” Museum London Online Catalogue, Works of Dorothy Seely-Smith. http://collection.museumlondon.ca/people/1032/dorothy-seelysmith/objects#info.

“Work of 42 London Artists Represented in Exhibit held by Women’s Canadian Club.” London Free Press, March 5, 1932.

“Work of London Artists Wins Acclaim at Annual Exhibit Arranged by Local I.O.D.E,” The London Evening Free Press, November 11, 1925.

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