Kay, Dorothay (1886 – 1964)

Dorothy Kay was born in Greystones, County Wicklow, Eire in 1886. In 1900 Kay started her studies at the Dublin
Metropolitan School of Art and Royal Hibernian Acad School. She also made study trips to Paris, but considered
herself self-taught. Kay came to South Africa in 1910 to marry Hobart Kay, and in 1916 the settled in Port
Elizabeth, where both became very active in artistic affairs. She was always a zealous worker and observed a
disciplined programme, spending a fixed period in her studio each day.

For almost half a century Dorothy Kay was the leading figure in the art life of the Eastern Province. As well as
running an animated, happy home for her busy surgeon husband and their three daughters, she participated
energetically in the affairs of the Eastern Province soc of Arts.

Kay was fortunate in possessing two distinctive character traits, which are conspicuously reflected in her art: an
ability to perceive essentials and an abiding sense of humour. She was completely lacking in any personal vanity
and could regard herself and her endeavours with a practical detachment.

In the year before her death at the age of 78, Dorothy Kay had so transformed her earlier literary illusionism
that she could, with sly wit, conceive the last of a long list of self portraits in terms of an abstract assemblage of
symbolic items.


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