Dora Altounyan, née Collingwood (1886-1964)

Scope and Content

Daughter of William Gershom and Edith Collingwood, sister to Barbara, Robin and Ursula.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dora, the eldest child of W. G. Collingwood and Edith Mary (Dorrie) Isaac, was born in the Lake District in 1886. She was primarily educated at home by her mother. She went on to attend Cope’s School of Art and later studied Fine Art at the University of Reading, where her father also lectured. Dora spent time studying painting in Paris and, following in her parents’ footsteps, she became a successful artist. In 1916 Dora married the notable medical doctor, Ernest Altounyan. After the First World War, they moved to Aleppo, Syria, where Ernest’s father ran a hospital. She continued to sketch and paint the places she lived in and visited in the Middle East. She was close friends with Arthur Ransome and he based the Walker family in Swallows and Amazons on her children. She died in 1964.