Even amidst the patriarchal society of the early 20th Century, Matilda Browne was a respected artist among her peers and regarded as an important painter among those who worked at the Old Lyme art colony. Her technical abilities were the equal of any of her peers and she was the only woman among the many artists who was allowed to paint one of the boarding house doors.
The men of the Old Lyme colony were famously hostile to women artists, regarding them as students and not taking their work seriously. Matilda Browne, however, was possessed of an undeniable talent to which even the rather insular Old Lyme artists were forced to pay deference. As a child, her neighbor, an accomplished artist himself, encouraged her to experiment with paint. Her natural ability was remarkable and he encouraged her to seek formal training. By the time she was 12 years of age, her paintings of flowers were exhibited at the National Academy of Design.
A famous painting at Old Lyme colony that depicts many of the famous artists, called "The Fox Chase" features Browne among the colony's boarders. Despite their misgivings toward other female artists, they regarded Browne as something of a sister.