CAS Permanent Collection . Aline Gowen


Aline Gowen, née Elizabeth Wooldridge, was born on 28th July 1907, in Blean, Kent, to a farming family who had come to Essex in the 1930's where her father farmed at Little Totham, near Maldon and then at Peldon.  She went to study art at the Regent Street Polytechnic, London. During that period she spent many hours copying sculptures at the V & A.  She first worked as a glass designer in London, and then designed and painted textiles and lampshades for a Norwegian firm. In 1935 she met her husband, Ken Gowen, a member of the well-known West Mersea sailmakers Gowen & Company. They were married in 1936 at Lexden, Colchester. Although she had painted throughout this time, it was not until after the war, in 1947, that she started working more seriously. She went to Flatford Mill on a painting course run by Dr Eric Ennion (1900-1981), who later became a well-known bird painter. She joined local art societies in Ipswich (1952) and Colchester (1946-1958) where she exhibited regularly.  She had exhibitions at The Minories, the Mercury Theatre and other venues and sold widely. After the death of her first husband she married John A Davies in North Dorset in 1980 and sometimes painted under the name Gowen-Davies. She was a member of Ipswich Art Society from 1948 to 1969 and Colchester Art Society for a number of years too. She was very active in both societies and her works were accepted for their exhibitions most years.


Aline Gowen’s early subjects included marine work but she was mainly a landscape painter in water colours (for a watercolour landscape painting see Woodland Gate [CAS 53]). She later shifted her interest to botanical subjects.  She was a contemporary of Cedric Morris (q.v.) and John Nash (q.v.) who both had a major influence on her work as a flower painter as can be seen here. She also knew Rowland Suddaby (q.v.) and was a good friend of Anthony Atkinson (q.v.), two artists who transmitted their love of nature and the countryside to her.

Selected exhibitions

1974 Ipswich Art Club, Centenary Exhibition, The Potato Pickers

1979 West Hall Chase, 8 High Street, West Mersea, Sunflowers (Autumn Glory) and Water Lilies

1980 West Hall Chase, 8 High Street, West Mersea, The Twisted Willow and Olive Tree, Corfu


1970 The Minories, Colchester, Flower, Cloud and Tree

1953, 1963 and 1964, The Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA), London

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, London

The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, London

The Society of Women Artists, London

The Pastel Society, London

Leicester Gallery, London

The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

Gainsborough's House, Sudbury

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich