Arthur Ransome Wiki

Dora Collingwood (1886-1964) was the eldest daughter of W. G. Collingwood and Edith Mary (Dorrie) Isaac. She was born in the Lake District in 1886.

She was primarily educated at home by her mother. From 1903 she went on to attend Cope’s School of Art and later (1905-1909) studied Fine Art at the University of Reading, where her father also lectured. During the five years pre-World War I, she attended La Grande Chaumière, L’Académie Nouvelle and L’Académie de la Palette, in Paris and, following in her parents’ footsteps, she became a successful artist.

She married the notable medical doctor, Ernest Altounyan in 1916. Their children became models for the Walker children; Taqui, Susan (Susie), Roger, Titty (Mavis) and Brigit. The oldest girl, Taqui, became John in order to have another boy in the stories.

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.

Arthur had proposed to both Dora and her sister Barbara (TLE p48), although in his autobiography he only mentions proposing to Barbara.

He wrote Swallows and Amazons as something for the Altounyan children to read among the sands of Syria, and sent them a copy. In 1932 he stayed with them at Aleppo, Syria.and wrote part of Peter Duck there. (LAR p301,311,323).

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