The lost murals of James Blomfield. Until I read the book A National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s-1930s by Marylin J. McKay, I was not aware that James Blomfield had painted these two murals in the former Royal Bank building at the corner of West Hastings and Homer (now part of VFS). From Volume 18 (1905), Issue 10, page 149 of the Canadian Architect and Builder (available online btw), here’s the brief text description:
These wall paintings have an allegorical reference to Vancouver and the Royal Bank. Vancouver Triumphans represents the rising City of Vancouver with Industry on one side and Agriculture on the other. The figure in the lower panel is a personification of Acadia, representing the Maritime Provinces in which the Royal Bank had its origin. The coats of arms inserted in the frame round Acadia are those of the Crown, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and, (at the bottom) the City of Halifax, which is the parent city of the Bank.
Vancouver Triumphans may have actually inspired Paul Goranson consciously or subconsciously when he drew this proposal for the British American Bank Note Company in the 1930s.
I can’t tell exactly where these murals would have been painted, but perhaps we can determine this after a closer look inside the building. Though I can’t be sure, these murals may actually be buried under a few layers of paint!
Speaking of lost murals, another one of James Blomfield’s greatest works was destroyed by fire on April 15, 1957. James had painted the ceiling of the ballroom at Government House in Victoria in 1903. From page 31 of A National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s-1930s:
The work was composed of colossal figures of Indian warriors on the spaces between the ceiling arches, connecting by an interlace design of pine cones, pine needles, dogwood, and other local flora. Painted with the totems (protective spiritual images) of various Northwest Coast Native tribes, these figures appear as “Canadianized” classical personifications.
Images B-08471, C-07768, D-03031, E-02750 of Government House are from the BC Archives. But if anyone has any pre-1957 images in colour, please let me know!
Special thanks to the VPL librarian for your assistance with this post!