A talented Montreal modernist artist; Sybil Octavia Dobell (née Robertson)'s middle name was chosen because she was the eighth child in the family. She studied at the School of the Art Association of Montreal (AAM), and in 1923 was awarded the Robert Reford Prize for the best work painted by a student at the AAM. Dobell participated in the AAM's Spring Exhibitions from 1920 to 1923, and 1945 to 1947. Though affiliated with the prominent Beaver Hall Group, only a few works by Dobell are found today. Based on the titles of her canvases, it appears that she painted almost exclusively colourful portraits of women. The artist gave up painting when she married Francis Curzon Dobell in 1926, devoting herself to family life until the death of her husband in 1941. A few years later, she began once again to submit works to the AAM's Spring Exhibition from 1945 to 1947.

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