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News > Archive > The legacy of Miss Dickie

The legacy of Miss Dickie

26 Jun 2019
Written by Joanne Halford
Miss Dickie, (Potts) in Assissi, Italy
Miss Dickie, (Potts) in Assissi, Italy

These beautifully illustrated pages are from a commemorative book intricately painted by Miss Dickie, the art mistress, on the occasion of the School's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1952.

The retirement of Beatrice Burton-Brown coincided with the Golden Jubilee, and the book was presented to her to mark the occasion. The names of Old Girls who contributed to Miss Burton-Brown's retirement fund are listed in beautiful script, and the margins are finely illustrated with vibrant sketches of the chief activities of the school through its first 50 years.

Miss Mary Dickie, known universally at “Potts” came to Prior’s Field in the early 1930s. She quickly immersed herself in school life, accompanying trips, directing dramatic productions, and even becoming Commandant of the Girls’ Training Corps during World War II. She stayed for nearly 25 years.

Generations of Prior’s Field girls were inspired by Miss Dickie’s enthusiasm for her subject and outright talent as an artist. Ann Hechle (OG 1952–56) remembers:
“What was so outstanding about ‘Potts’ was that she really believed that art mattered and therefore that was present in what she was teaching. There was integrity there and a commitment - and perhaps it’s that that the young pick up on.”

Ann was so inspired by Miss Dickie that she has made a successful career as a calligrapher.

We would love to collect more memories of Miss Dickie. Please do write and tell me about her art lessons and how she inspired you.

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