Upton, Florence

BORN 22 Feb 1873, New York City, New York: Flushing, Queens - DIED 16 Oct 1922, London
BIRTH NAME Upton, Florence Kate
CAUSE OF DEATH complications after surgery
GRAVE LOCATION London: Hampstead Cemetery, Fortune Green Road, Camden (J.12.58B)

Florence Kate Upton was the daugher of British parents who had recently emigrated to the New York. Her father was a clerk at the American Exchange Bank in New York. Her father took evening classes at the National Academy of Design and Florence joined him when she was fifteen years old. After her father died in 1889 her mother Bertha (born Hudson, 1849-1912) supported the family by giving voice lessons at home. Florence found work as a professional illustrator. By 1893 the finances of the family were stable and they visited Bertha's relatives in Hampstead, London. Florence had built a reputation in the USA and easily found work in London. She decided to stay in England when the rest of the family went back to the USA.

She named a toy of her aunt Kate Hudson "Golliwogg" and it inspired a story that she completed in 1894. It was published in 1895 as "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg". In the same year she studied art under Walter Wallis. Her illustrations for Strand Magazine, The Idler and Punch were popular. After three years she returned to the USA, where she attended the Art Students League. She continued her studies and her work in Paris and in the Netherlands, where she painted several summers at Egmond aan Zee, joining the summer school of the painter George Hitchcock (1850-1913), who became a good friend.

In 1906 she settled in London permanently. With Bertha, who provided text, she created thirteen Colliwogg adventures over the years. After public interest decreased she ended the series in 1909 with "Golliwogg in the African Jungle" and after that she concentrated on her painting. She exhibited at the Royal Academy and was sought after for her society portraits. In 1910 she moved to 21 Great College Street in the Camden area of London. Her health prevented her from prodivind practical services during the First World War but she donated dolls and drawings for the Red Cross. In her later years she felt lonely and she took an interest in spiritualism, believing that she communicated with her deceased mother. In 1922 she died in her studio from complications after surgery.


The grave of Florence Upton at Hampstead Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 Aug 2016)


The grave of Florence Upton at Hampstead Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 Aug 2016)


The grave of Florence Upton at Hampstead Cemetery, London.
Picture by Androom (13 Aug 2016)


Florence Kate Upton - Wikipedia

Ussi, Stefano

Published: 20 Feb 2022
Last update: 20 Apr 2022