Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born 28 June 1805 in England. Died 17 October 1836 in Newcastle NSW.
Dorothy English Burnard was baptised at Bideford, North Devon, England, on 28 June 1805. Her father, Thomas, was an acute businessman, an enterprising and successful timber merchant and ship owner. Dorothy was one of eight children—five girls and three boys. Like many of her class, her educational skills encompassed the feminine proficiencies of drawing, painting and needlework.
Dorothy married John Paty, a military officer 14 years her senior, in Bideford in 1830. The couple’s first son was born in Sydney in 1831, following John’s posting to New South Wales. On his appointment as the Deputy Assistant Commissary General in 1832, the family moved to Newcastle, where a daughter and another two sons were born.
Friends and family collected native flora from the local area for Dorothy to paint. As family friend Reverend Wilton travelled on his parish duties, he was able to collect unusual specimens for Dorothy that were not found within the confines of Newcastle.
As a prolific flower painter, Dorothy found the native flora unique and exciting. Her early paintings were botanically accurate but relatively simplistic, and lacked the rich, colourful impact and artistic representation of her later works. All her paintings are identified botanically and dated, often with the collector’s name and the plant’s habitat noted.
Just 19 days after giving birth to her third son in Newcastle, Dorothy died on 17 October 1836, due to complications. She was only 31. Dorothy’s husband remained in Newcastle for two years after her death, before retiring with his two remaining sons to Bideford, England, to live with relatives.
Source: Extracted from: Women of Flowers, by Leonie Norton (2009), National Library of Australia