A SILSDEN artist mocked for her Yorkshire accent by her students had the last laugh.

Dorothy Wade rose to the top ranks at the London College of Fashion and mingled with VIP visitors including the Royal Family.

Silsden at enthusiast Colin Neville tells the story of artist and teacher Dorothy on his website Not Just Hockney which showcases the life and work of dozens of artists from Bradford district.

Colin compiled his article with Dorothy’s lifelong friend Vijay Sawmynaden.

Colin writes: When Dorothy started teaching at the London College of Fashion, she didn’t anticipate the reaction from her students - they heckled and mocked her Yorkshire accent.

But Dorothy rose steadily through the teaching ranks at the college to become Head of Art, a position she held until her retirement in 1973 and one that brought her into contact with many prestigious visitors to this iconic London college, including the Queen Mother.

Dorothy was born in 1913 and grew up at Cragg House in the Cringles area of Silsden, the daughter of a local poultry farmer, Thomas Wade, and mother Frances.

She studied art initially at both the Leeds and Bradford Art Colleges and taught art students Bradford College in the 1950s, including David Hockney, before being appointed to the College of Fashion.

Dorothy painted in a semi-abstract style and her work was influenced by the British colourist, Matthew Smith and her own watercolours were characterised by the strong use of colour.

Shortly after her retirement she said of this: “I’d lived so long in the greyness of the North, but I always wanted to live in a colourful background.

“The first time I ever travelled abroad, I went on a train to Venice. The impact was tremendous: I don’t think I’ve ever got over the brightness and the light.

“I couldn’t go back to the North now; the greyness is over everything; I see everything in colour.”

Dorothy was partner to the painter and engraver, Robert Charles Peter and the two artists shared a house in Kew.

The two artists travelled extensively across Europe, USA and India on painting trips - the patterns and colours of India were a recurring feature of her later work.

Dorothy’s paintings were exhibited with the Royal Society of British Artists, Women’s International Art Club, Leicester Galleries, Beaux Art Gallery and at the Woodstock Gallery, London. Many are also now in private collections.

In 1970 Dorothy was elected an Associate of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers and in the final stage of her life Dorothy she at New Malden, Surrey, where, until well into old age, she was an art tutor with the University of the Third Age.

Dorothy died in 2009 in New Malden.

* Visit notjusthockney.info for biographies of artists and art-world figures from the Keighley area, along with images of their work.