Amalie Sarah Feild-Colquhoun (1894-1974)
Artist, SMB student and art mistress
Born in Murtoa Amalie Feild was educated at the Murtoa Primary School. After moving to Ballarat with her family in 1904 she first visited the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. She taught at Sebastopol Primary School where her artistic talent was recognised and supported, and she attended the Ballarat Technical Art School, becoming its Art Mistress during the mid-1920s. The Ballarat Courier of February 1927 reported 'The Ballarat Technical Art School will suffer a severe loss in the departure of Miss Amalie Feild, who has been appointed art mistress at the Working Men's College, Melbourne. Miss Feild has been in charge of the pottery class at the Ballarat School.' Always wanting to expand her artistic talents she further pursued her studies at the Sydney Technical School, and at the famous Max Meldrum School, Melbourne. She exhibited in London, taught at Melbourne Technical College, and after marrying Archibald Colquhoun in 1931 started an art school in partnership.
Amalie exhibited extensively in Australia and England, and is represented in many elite collections. Producing a set of 'Fairy Lore' pictures, designed, compiled and lithographed in Australia, the Ballarat School of Mines (SMB) Student's Magazine of 1925 wrote: 'Miss Amalie Field [sic] of the Art School staff, has lately added to her laurels by gaining distinction in commercial art circles. In this respect she has proved a pioneer by designing and illustrating a set of nursery rhymes suitable for kindergarten use, and having them printed locally by Mr David Cochrane, who is also an old student of the School.'
Ballarat's St Andrew's Kirk and Lydiard Street Uniting Church, as well as Mount Pleasant Methodist Church boast stained glass windows made to Amalie's design. In regards to the J.Y. McDonald Memorial window at St Andrew's Kirk, the 'Ballarat Courier' wrote "The handsome memorial windows erected in St Andrew's Kirk to the memory of Mrs Stephen Murphy (Daughter of Mr and Mrs John Macleod) and the Hon. J.Y. McDonald, and unveiled yesterday by the Very Rev. John Walker, were designed by that talented artist, Miss M. Field [sic], of Ascot street north, who is a teacher at the Technical Art School, of which Mr H.H. Smith is principal. Miss Field not only designed the windows, but went specially to Sydney to supervise their construction by Mr Fred Tarrant. The window to Mrs Murphy represents the figure of Dorcas, and that of the Hon. J.Y. McDonald is designed to illustrate the parable, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant'. Miss Feild has also designed another fine window which is to be placed in St Andrew's Kirk within the next month or two." Another report stated: "... they are very fine specimens of the art, and Mr Tarrant has written to Mr Smith [principal] expressing admiration for the way in which Miss Feild has successfully gone out of the beaten track in her design."
Well loved by those around her 'Innocent' wrote the following poem which was published in the 1916 SMB Student's Magazine:
And who is she, in some quiet spot,
Sits demure and wants to swot;
Whoe'er it be, I'm sure it's not Amalie.
Who is the girl when all is quiet,
Bursts into action, starts a riot;
And if she's caught, then she'll decry it,
Why, of course, Amalie.
There is a girl within the School,
Quiet, serene, ne'er breaks a rule;
And now you read this, well then you'll
Agree it's not Amalie.
Amalie Feild-Colquhoun was well respected in artistic and teaching circles. Shen died in 1974, aged 80.
This biography written by Di Campbell, December 2005, updated March 2008.
Image caption (RHS)- Portrait of the Ballarat Technical School Principal H.H. Smith by Amalie Feild-Colquhoun, from the collection of the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery.
Image caption (LHS)- Stained glass window