Powell St. Wharf, Vancouver by Geoffroy Allan Rock (1923-2000), titled & dated 1979 on reverse. Up for auction next month in Ottawa at Walkers, est price: CAD500 - CAD700.
The CPR railway station at the foot of Granville with the queue to purchase Shaughnessy Land.
Shaughnessy was named after the CPR president: Thomas Shaughnessy and was part of the land deal the CPR had struck with the Canadian government during negotiations about the railways expansion West.
Inspired by this Vancouver Archives photo by Philip Timms, September, 1909.
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…
Old Capilano Beach, Vancouver, BC a signed and monogrammed etching by James Blomfield. From the booklet Rainbows in our Walls, Stained Glass in Vancouver 1890-1940 by Robert D. Watt. More on Robert Watt from wikipedia:
In 1973, he was appointed Curator of History at the Vancouver Centennial Museum (now the Vancouver Museum). He became Chief Curator in 1977 and was Director from 1980 to 1988. In 1988, he was appointed Chief Herald of Canada.
A reminder, I’ll be speaking at EastVanLove8 tonight at SFU Woodwards! Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Ship in BC Marine Drydock, Vancouver by Orville Fisher. I’m not sure what the date was, but I wonder if it was also dated 1935, the very same year that colleagues Paul Goranson and EJ Hughes each made a print on the shipping trade in Vancouver. I thought it was appropriate to post the past three images in a row, as I just happened to come across these images all at once! Here’s a quote from this article in the Saturday Night Magazine from 1939:
In 1933 Edward Hughes and Orville Fisher graduated from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art and Paul Goranson completed his third year. All three took the drawing and painting course. Fisher and Goranson studied for another year with Fred Varley, one of the Group of Seven, and Hughes also did some post-graduate studying. Then began the heart-breaking grind of trying to paint for a living…
I don’t know where this was reproduced, but if I recall correctly, this reproduction came from the VPL artist file.
Derelict in Coal Harbour, a print by EJ Hughes, from the National Gallery of Canada. This drypoint on buff wove paper was dated 1935, and was a gift of the artist to the gallery. More work from the gallery’s collection here.
Canadian Pacific Railway Station, Vancouver BC, a souvenir plate made in Austria in the very early 1900s. Seen at Horseshoe Coins & Antiques in Blaine, WA, just over the border, a great little antiques shop full of Northwest lore. This item however, was for display only, part of the proprietor’s collection. Changing Vancouver covers the building’s story here; the building only lasted for about 10 years on account of poor quality bricks. Film footage of the station survives in the 1907 film by William Harbeck which you can learn much more about in the City Reflections DVD. Thanks for the photo, Derek!
Vancouver Harbour Panorama, a watercolour by Robert Amos. He writes on his site:
When I opened the curtains in my room in Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, I saw the fabulous view of all the complexity of Vancouver’s harbour and the view to the east. The container port, helipad, harbour ferry and dredging barge were right there for me to contemplate and paint at my leisure.
Robert recently wrote this article for the Times Colonist about Gary Sim’s CD-ROM of British Columbia Artists. Robert is currently artist-in-residence at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria, and is in the midst of digitizing and transferring some of his collection of art ephemera to the University of Victoria Library and Archives. Bravo, Robert!
I’m very much looking forward to this forthcoming comic set in early Vancouver titled Waterlogged by Cloudscape Comic’s Jeff Ellis. Look closely and you’ll see the Union Steamship Empress of Japan in the first panel!
Here’s a sneak peak of a few of my pages from Waterlogged.
I was looking at the stand of totems in Stanley park and was reminded again of my Native heritage. This caused me to reflect on an incident told to me by Chief Dan George. As a young man he had just lost a finger in an accident and had to row across Burrard Inlet, then hike up a trail through trees to St. Paul’s Hospital for treatment. He remembered looking West from the hospital balcony towards the Burrard Street Bridge and seeing the sun set on nothing but more trees. From my vantage point, I turned and looked across the harbour at a different kind of forest - one of skyscrapers - towers of glass and steel. So many changes. Today hundreds of thousands of people live here having settled from all over the world. One family who moved to this thriving metropolis were my grandparents, John and Sophia Freeman and their eight daughters. It is to the Freeman family that I dedicate this work, entitled Vancouver.
A Vancouver Appliqué by Joan Statz of Joan’s Own Creations, 1999. This is the kind of folk/fabric art I was looking for when I held my contest to win this souvenir pillowcase. Now that I have these plans, I’ll have to see if I can recruit my mom or her army of needlepoint associates to complete this. And maybe it’s time for someone to release an update the city skyline?
Vancouver From Kitsilano and Vancouver from Rowing Club, circa 1914, ink on paper, Ina D.D. Uhthoff (courtesy Mother Tongue Publishing), via VIAwesome.com. From The Life & Art of Ina D. D. Uhthoff by Christina Johnson-Dean, which came out late last year. You can purchase the book at MacLeod’s Books in downtown Vancouver. The entire series of Unheralded Artists of BC is outstanding, seeking to remedy some of the lost treasures of art history in our own backyard.
Cinderella Stamps from Vancouver’s Jubilee celebrations in 1936. These images came via Ron Lafreniere in Montreal, who has compiled a remarkable reference book dedicated to Canadian Cinderellas (stamp collector’s term for make-believe stamps). His book launched in May 2012 and it looks to be an amazing resource. You can learn more via his website, including the book’s index, galleries of sample pages, and a free checklist of all the Canadian Cinderellas he knows of. His book is available in Vancouver at All Nations Stamp & Coin, a great resource for collectibles on Dunbar.
Higher resolution stamp images updated to be more philatelically correct!
Sculpted souvenir plate of Vancouver, undated, signed “S:C” just above the BC. Initially carved in wood, this item is made from faux wood known as “Syroco”, a term applied to a molded material resembling carved wood. This process was invented and first implemented by the Syracuse Ornamental Company. Via Syracuse University:
Founded in Syracuse, New York in 1890 by immigrant Adolph Holstein, the Syracuse Ornamental Company (Syroco) specialized in decorative wood carving, especially for the local residential market. Products included fireplace mantelpieces and other types of interior decoration popular in late Victorian homes. To meet increasing market demand and sales opportunities Holstein developed a material looked and felt like wood but that which could be shaped, allowing multiple pieces to be produced through a molding process. The new product, which combined wood pulp brought from the Adirondacks with flour as a binder and other materials to give it strength, was extruded and then cut to fit compression molds, which had were made from original carvings in real wood…
In 1965 the company was bought by Rexall Drug and Chemical Company (which soon changed its name to Dart Industries). Dart owned Tupperware, from which Syroco gained more knowledge of injection molding. Syroco was purchased by the Syratech Corporation of Boston in 1986 which expanded its patio furniture production. In 1995 Syratech sold Syroco to Marley PLC of Sevenoaks, England, and in 2004 Syroco was purchased by Vassallo Industries of Puerto Rico which closed the plant in 2007…
In addition to showing the Bloedel Conservatory, the Gastown Clock, a Kwakiutl Totem Pole, Lions Gate Bridge, and a BC Ferry, it also features the Royal Hudson steam locomotive. From wikipedia:
The locomotive was restored by Robert E. Swanson’s Railway Appliance Research Ltd. team and the staff of the CPR Drake Street roundhouse shops beginning on 25 November 1973 and then operated by the British Columbia Department of Travel Industry with the cooperation of the British Columbia Railway. The BCR commenced a Royal Hudson excursion service between North Vancouver and Squamish on 20 June 1974. By the end of the 1974 tourist season, 47,295 passengers had been carried and the excursion was deemed successful. It was the only regularly scheduled steam excursion over mainline trackage in North America. The excursion operated between May and October, from Wednesday through Saturday. It also traveled North America in the late 1970s as a promotion for BC tourism. It quickly became one of British Columbia’s main tourist attractions and an icon of Canadian steam power.
The buildings in the city skyline probably give us the best clues when this souvenir plate was created. The three tallest buildings appear to be depicting the Royal Bank Tower (1973), the TD Tower (1972), and the Scotia Tower (1977). By lining up the Hotel Vancouver with the towers and zooming out in Google Earth, it would appear this view was taken from one of the higher floors in the Frank Stanzl Building (1974) on Broadway, a brutalist building designed by Vladimir Plavsic. As an aside, Lindsay Brown’s post on the Stanzl Building is highly recommended.
After all this, I still can’t be certain when this thing was made, but it was probably some time post-1977; possibly even post-1986 if the S:C stands for Syratech Corporation. Who knew you could learn all this from an old souvenir!