A few more closeups of the great Vancouver Paint-in from VanArchives. The last painting here is by prolific folk artist Gordon Kit Thorne; the other works appear to be unsigned. In Gordon’s painting, he has painted a garden scene with flowering cherry trees, with the words “Gone but not FORGOTTEN”. He appears to be lamenting the loss of some cherry trees located in front of the art gallery, before the fountain was installed (you can see the Hotel Georgia in the background). For further reading, see Carol DeFina’s fairly extensive history of Vancouver’s cherry trees for the Vancouver Park Board, posted on the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival website.
The Rocky Mountains, from Calgary to Vancouver by Mrs. Adelaide Langford, 1916, as seen in the lobby of Vancouver’s Waterfront Station. Born circa 1856 Adelaide Elizabeth Winyard Hurd, she passed away in 1939, living to about age 83. From The Hedley Gazette, March 29, 1917:
Review of C.P.R. Work for 1916
Important Undertakings Marked the Activities of the Company During the Year
The year 1916 was an interesting one in the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It has been a year of progress even though the Dominion is struggling in a great war…
…The walls of the spacious waiting hall of the new Canadian Pacific Railway Station at Vancouver have been recently beautified by a series of rural decorations representing the principal mountains from Calgary to Vancouver. The decorations are the work of Mrs. Adelaide Langford, an artist with a wide reputation…
While Mrs. Adelaide Langford may have had a wide reputation at the time of the article, she is not well remembered today. I came upon an article from 1927 when she was about 71 which provides further insights into her work. Below is a transcript of the article from 1927 seen above:
The Morning Leader - August 6, 1927
Pictures by Canadian Woman Adorn Many European Homes
Duke of Cambridge and Other Noted Collectors Have Acquired Paintings From Brush of Vancouver Artist
To have the work of one’s life adorn many of the stately mansions of the world is the proud achievement of one western woman in the person of Mrs. Adelaide Langford of Vancouver, B.C., many of whose canvases are hung in old ancestral homes in Europe, the late Duke of Cambridge, Sir Augustus Nanton and other distinguished collectors having acquired her work throughout England, Canada and the United States.
Mrs. Langford, whose pictures bear the signature “Adelaide Langford,” is the widow of the late Capt. H. Ayliffe Langford, and is a truly western artist of no mean ability. She is a student of the Slade school, London University, England, and is also a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, having studied under Frederick W. Freer, W. M. R. French and John H. Vanderpoel of Chicago, and has completed most of her work in the west. She inherits her artist gifts from parents and grandparents who were painters. She is the daughter of the late Thomas Gladwin Hurd, formerly of Toronto.
Mrs. Langford paints in a broad, free style, which has the distinction of the Barbizon school and marked individuality. She is a wonderful colorist and her canvases are truly decorative as well as restful. They are pictures which one can live with from day to day, finding added charm as they become more familiar. Among her recent works is an oil painting of the buffalo at Banff, Alta., completed just before the big drive when so many hundreds were extinguished. This hangs in the rotunda of the Royal Alexandra hotel in Winnipeg.
In an exhibit she is presenting now at Vancouver she is showing a painting of the Indian reserve at West Vancouver and the Indian village at North Vancouver; these are particularly attractive. She is also displaying her “Fraser Canyon,” painted at Yale, B.C., where the waters roar and tumble hundreds of feet below the railway line, and which is one of the beauty spots of the Rockies. In this Mrs. Langford has shown her knowledge and understanding of the great outdoors. The collection also includes pictures of English and continental scenery.
Mrs. Langford lost her husband during service of the late war; her son also served for several years in the motor boat patrol in the North Sea as well as Russia on special service and in the Arctic, for which he was decorated by the British and Russian governments. Mrs. Langford’s own charitable work will always remain in the minds of those who were closely associated with her during that time, and she was never at any time too engrossed in her own troubles that she could not find time to aid those less fortunate than herself.
[the original article incorrectly named John D. Vanderpoel instead of John H. Vanderpoel, and the Barbizon school was misspelled as the Barbazon school; these two errors are shown corrected in the text above]
According to Gary Sim’s British Columbia Artists:
An article “The Fine Arts”, published June 9, 1923 in the Western Women’s Weekly, noted that Langford was a critic of the Studio Club. The Vancouver Studio Club and School of Art was a predecessor organization to the B.C. Society of Fine Arts, and began exhibiting in Vancouver as early as 1904. Founding members of the group included T.W. Fripp and Spencer Perceval Judge.
And according to National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s - 1930s, “Langford’s brother-in-law was general superintendent of the Pacific Division of the Canadian Pacific Railway and likely was helpful in securing the commission for her.”
Ironically, the placement of these paintings at Waterfront Station so far from our line of sight has probably helped to preserve them. At the time of writing, it is not clear if any of her other paintings have survived. The Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg was demolished in 1971, though the dining room from the hotel has been preserved and rebuilt in Cranbrook at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel. An email to the museum has determined that no paintings were included in the reconstructed hotel dining room. The CPR Archives has no record of the painting’s whereabouts either. It is unknown if paintings from the collection of Prince George, the late Duke of Cambridge, or Sir Augustus Nanton have survived. Just to be sure, I’ve sent a letter to the senior archivist at Windsor Castle…perhaps one of Adelaide Langford’s paintings has been passed down to the Royal family and remains in their collection to this day. I’ll keep you posted if I receive a reply…
Powell Street Facade
The 1919 Vancouver Millionaires [simulated] hockey cards, caricatures by Hal, via the VanArchives. Although I’d like to pretend that I found these pressed between the pages of an old encyclopedia, I admit they are pure Photoshop fabrications, mocked up with a free paper background courtesy of psdGraphics. The original artwork was photographed by Stuart Thomson, and I imagine they were intended to be published in some form, perhaps even as trading cards. Here’s Stuart’s bio, from the VanArchives:
Stuart Thomson was born in Hampstead, England, in 1881. Trained as a railway worker, he emigrated to Vancouver in 1910. He took up amateur photography but soon embarked upon a career as a commercial and press photographer. During the 1920s, he contributed to three daily Vancouver newspapers but relied more on commercial work by the 1930s. He died in 1960.Stuart Thomson sold his negatives to the Vancouver Sun newspaper in 1954. The Vancouver Sun newspaper donated them to the archives in 1963.
Corner of Granville & Georgia Streets, 1889, a watercolour by
George Thercer, or possibly George T Mercer (confirmed!). This painting is in the Vancouver Maritime Museum’s fine art collection, and in my mind, the dramatic wide angle perspective of this panorama gives the painting a decidedly modern feel (if it wasn’t for all the missing skyscrapers!)
Based on the vantage point of this painting, I’d say that we are on the third or fourth floor of the very first Hotel Vancouver, which was situated at the corner of Georgia & Granville Streets. We are looking down Granville Street, all the way to the waterfront. In 1889, the Hotel Vancouver was just 1 year old, and the great fire had leveled the city just 3 years prior. Remarkable how things change in just a few short years…
Kenworth Truck Calendar, acrylic painting from 1979 by George McLachlan. The scene depicts the corner of Granville and Hastings, a popular intersection to take a picture perfect postcard, as many images in the Vancouver Archives are taken from this very same vantage point.
The name Kenworth came into being in 1923, and this truck appears to be from this early era. The style of manned traffic light system shown here remained in effect until 1928, according to Chuck Davis. This would explain why the Trorey Clock is missing from the painting, as Birks had purchased the Trorey business back in 1907 and moved the clock up to Georgia & Granville in 1913.
Dominon Building Vancouver
Some vintage commercial artwork by George McLachlan, via his website. The first is a cover from a BCTel brochure cover titled “Communications”, believed to be from 1976. The acrylic painting shows a cluster of downtown skyscrapers, many of which were new modern additions to the city’s skyline.
The next illustration is a vintage pastel rendering of the Hyatt Odyssey Hotel in downtown Vancouver, which is now known as the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
And finally, a brochure for the grand opening of Woodward’s Food Floor at Arbutus Village, which is also flogging the Woodward’s credit card. This post prompted the submission of the last image from none other than Michael Kluckner, who still has his Woodward’s card! Woodward’s Arbutus Village Food Floor opened November 13, 1974; it is now a Safeway store.
A tribute to George Alexander Norris, sculptor 1928-2013. George passed away in Victoria this week.
George created this 95 foot frieze for Vancouver’s Postal Station D at 2300 Pine Street in Vancouver in 1967. Norris is perhaps best known for his iconic sculpture of a crab in the fountain at the Museum of Vancouver (then the Centennial Museum).
Some of his other work was less respected; his 1974 stainless steel pinwheel sculpture at Pacific Centre Plaza was dismantled, given to the City of Surrey, where it remained in storage until it was unceremoniously scrapped.
Another Norris sculpture was situated on the northeast corner of Cambie and Dunsmuir streets in downtown Vancouver, at the west end of the Georgia Viaduct inside what was known as Abutment Park. According to a phone conversation Gary Sim conducted with the artist, the unnamed piece was effectively “a bridge marker” akin to those the Romans once placed at their bridges.
From Gary Sim’s Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950, he writes:
The bridge marker, a welded bronze structure, originally had four glass spheres (containing a mix of clear chemicals that would not freeze) mounted in it. These spheres and the welded bronze structure were enclosed in glass panels. The spheres were intended to reflect the lights of cars on the road, as a cat’s eyes would, as the cars went past. Some time later the sculpture began to fall into disrepair. The glass panels leaked and the sculpture filled with water, then the glass panels were all broken or removed. All four glass globes were smashed by vandals. The Editor, while sitting on the Vancouver Public Art Committee in 2000-2001, attempted to start a process that would end in the repair of the sculpture.
In the telephone conversation with the sculptor, Norris indicated that given its damaged state, he would definitely prefer the sculpture be destroyed. Two years later the sculpture remained untended, and in 2004 a large advertising sign was placed in front of it. Shortly afterwards the sculpture was removed and presumably sold for scrap. The concrete foundation remained while longer, but eventually was removed when the entire area was rebuilt for the new condo development.
May the work of George Norris be remembered and respected henceforth and forevermore. For an even more thorough record of his work, see this post over at the excellent blog DesignKultur.
Vancouver, British Columbia
“By Sea, Land, and Air We Prosper”
A city map of Canada’s Pacific Northwest city. Neighborhoods from Gastown to Mount Pleasant, and local landmarks from Granville Island to the Jimmy Hendrix house. All connected with bike trails and greenways.
Purchase it at store.forestandwaves.com
MAP 547 - Panoramic view of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, 1898, via the Vancouver Archives. Here you can see a detail of Brewery Creek, and that smoke stack in the centre of the image? That’s the site of Charles Gottfried Doering’s Vancouver Brewery, later known as the Doering & Marstrand Brewery. Actually, after a merger with the Red Cross Brewery, it became known as Vancouver Breweries Limited. There are so many subtle name changes in Vancouver’s beer history, it’s hard to keep track! More about that some other time.
The City of Vancouver Archives recently announced on their blog that thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, they have completed a project to digitize 512 maps and plans.
Maps are great archival records, filled with meticulous details of the city, typically accompanied by exquisite penmanship. However, they are like many early illustrated works—difficult to attribute. The map above, one of the most popular birds eye views of the city, states in very fine print at the bottom right hand corner: “Entered according to act of Parliament of Canada in the year 1898 by J.C. McLagan at the Department of Agriculture.” In a larger embellished font, the map also states “Published by the Vancouver World Printing and Publishing Company, Limited.”
Both of these details are interesting because J.C. (John James Campbell) McLagan was the editor and owner of The World newspaper which operated from 1888-1924. Bessy Lamb gives an excellent early history of The World among other early Vancouver newspapers in this 1942 research paper at UBC, and when you’re finished reading that, you can followup with this paper on women in the early BC newspaper trade, as McLagan’s wife Sara Anne took over the paper after his death. But back to the fine print on the map; it’s still not clear to me what all of this means. Was J.C. McLagan also employed by the Department of Agriculture?
I dug deeper and discovered this Vancouver Board of Trade annual report from 1892, indicating that he was indeed on the standing committee of Agriculture, along with S. Oppenheimer and E.E. Penzer. Actually, J.C. was also on the Immigration committee, so he must have been a busy man! What I really want to know is who was the cartographer?! Did J.C. McLagan actually have time to draw maps in his spare time, along with chairing meetings and running a newspaper?
I believe the answer lies here, in this document on Archive.org (original document in the National Library of Canada). Manitoba and the Great North-West was published in 1882, and it features a full page birds eye view map of the city of Winnipeg, very much in the same style as this map above. J.C. McLagan’s name is clearly stated on the title page, responsible for the “Sketch of the Rise and Progress of Winnipeg”. If the history books have not yet noted John James Campbell McLagan as an excellent cartographer, I believe they now stand corrected.
I hope you this has demonstrated just a few of the things you can learn from an old map! Take that, Google Maps!
Irene Hoffar Reid studied at the Vancouver School of Art under F. H. Varley and C. H. Scott (1925-29), later pursuing post-graduate studies at the same institution. In 1930, she journeyed to study under Monnington and Russell at the Royal Academy, where she remained for one year. Upon her return to British Columbia, Reid set up a studio and also became a teacher of drawing and painting at her alma mater (1933-1937). She was a member of both the British Columbia Society of Artists (from 1940-1967, serving as president from 1965-1967) and the Canadian Group of Painters (from 1959-1967, serving as president in 1958, 1960, and from 1966-1967), and exhibited extensively in group exhibitions in central and western Canada (at London, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Victoria, Vancouver) and once in the United States (at Seattle)…
Vancouver is once again having a poster show inside Waterfront Station. Following on the heels of the fall of 2011 show By Any Other Name, Working Format has teamed up with a half dozen graphic designers to pay homage to these essential intersections in Vancouver:
- Main & Hastings (by Glasfurd & Walker) www.glasfurdandwalker.com
- Denman & Davie (by State Creative Group) www.statecreativegroup.com
- Broadway & Granville (by 10Four Design) www.10fourdesign.com
- Kingsway & Fraser (by Zach Bulick) www.zachbulick.com
- SE Marine & Knight (by Working Format) www.workingformat.com
- Water & Carall (by Setareh Shamdani) www.setareh-shamdani.com
- 4th & Vine (by Post Projects) | www.post-projects.com
Intersections will host an opening reception January 31 at the Chinatown Experiment (434 Columbia) from 6pm to 9pm. The evening is free and open to the public. Starting in February, Intersections will be on display at the Canada Line’s Platform Gallery in Waterfront Station. via VIAwesome.