Illustration and Design By Canadian Artists 1890-1940 with a
list of books illustrated by
members of the Group of Seven
by Sybille Pantazzi, Librarian,
The Art Gallery of Toronto
Pages 1 |
2 | 3
1 St George Burgoyne, 'Some Canadian Illustrators', Canadian
Bookman, January 1919, pp. 21-25; April 1919, pp.27-30. Paul
Duval, 'Word & Picture: the Story of Illustration in Canada', Provincial's
Papel, XXVI, 2, 1961. 'Who's Who in Ontario Art' (in Ontario
Library Review, occasionally, from November 1947) lists books
illustrated by certain artists, e.g. A. Y. Jackson, C. W. Jefferys
2 William Colgate, The Toronto Art Students' League 1886-1904,
Toronto, Ryerson Press, 1954. (In 1898 the League shortened its name
to 'The Toronto Art League.')
3 Colgate, pp. 19, 29.
4 'The designer should reject subjects which do not admit of a
decorative treatment' and 'ornament ...should form part of the
page, should be part of the whole scheme of the book'. Emery Walker
& William Morris, Arts & Crafts Essays...London,
1893, pp. 246, 132.
5 R. H. Hubbard, The Development of Canadian Art, Ottawa
1963, pp. 86ff. Eric Arthur, Toronto, No Mean City, Toronto
1964, pp. 219ff.
6 In this same year the first exhibition of the Arts & Crafts
Society of Canada was held in Toronto. It had been preceded by an
Applied Art Exhibition held under the auspices of the Ontario
Society of Artists in 1900, to which A. H. Howard, Arthur G. Goode
and Norman; Price of the League had contributed. The second
exhibition of the Arts & Crafts Society of Canada (which had
changed its name to the Canadian Society of Applied Art) was held in
1905. Designs for calendars, book covers, etc. were exhibited by
Howard, Price, A. A. Martin, T. G. Greene and J. E. H. MacDonald. A
pamphlet was issued in connection with this exhibition outlining the
criteria according to which works would be judged. It emphasized the
importance of technical excellence, stylization and originality and
stated that 'decorative designs ...should in general be flat...and
that 'purely naturalistic forms should in general be eschewed'.
7 According to Colgate (p. 25) the four artists who joined the
Carlton Studio were Greene, Martin, Price and Arthur G.
Goode. However, the notepaper of the 'Carlton Studio, Designers
& Illustrators, 180 Fleet Street, E.C. 2' lists only the names
of A. A. Turbayne, Martin, Wallace and Price. The photograph
(Fig.1), kindly lent by Mr Thoreau MacDonald, was taken soon after
the arrival of the four Canadians in London. They rented the
top-hats for the occasion and sent the picture home as a joke.
8 Some of Turbayne's cover designs for Macmillan are illustrated in
Lionel Darley, Bookbinding Then & Now, London
1959, facing p. 70. cf. also Lewis F. Day, 'Cloth Bookbindings',
Art Journal, 1901, pp.113-117.
9 A copy of this book, signed by Turbayne & Price, was given to
Robert Holmes by Martin. It is now in the library of the Ontario
College of Art, to which Holmes bequeathed his books.
10 Letters to these publishers have produced no further information.
As designers were not always encouraged to sign their work at
that time, the identification of their work is very hazardous in
absence of the artist's or the publisher's records.
11 By David Boyle. Toronto, Musson, 1908.
12 On Coburn's illustrations, cf. Gerald Stevens, F. S. Coburn,
13 Note by Thoreau MacDonald in J. E. H. MacDonald, A Word to Us
All, Toronto, Ryerson Press, 1945. The influence of William
Morris, which is obvious in this first design, persisted in
MacDonald's later work also. See Fig. 26.
14 I know of no comparable designs in English and American books of
the 1920's or earlier. However some of the end-papers of the bound
volumes of Jugend, the Munich Art nouveau magazine,
which first appeared in 1896, are very striking. The 1908 volume for
example has a design of bright pink birds on a vivid green
background. Lawren Harris studied art in Munich & Berlin in
1905-7, and it is known that J. E. H. MacDonald owned copies of this
15 Toronto, Macmillan, 1928-9. The book was designed, decorated and
edited by Brooker. The same design was used for the end-papers of
the 1936 Yearbook.
16 cf. E. R. Hunter, 'Thoreau MacDonald', Maritime Art, II,
2, December 1941, pp. 45-49 and Norman Kent, 'The
line drawings of Thoreau MacDonald', American Artist, December
1965, pp. 36-41, 69-70.
17 An illustration for The Ancient Mariner is reproduced in
the Canadian Graphic Art Yearbook, 1931. Two pen drawings for
Crime and Punishment are in the collection of the Art Gallery
18 cf. Jean-Louis Gagnon, LaPalme, the First Twenty Years of the
Canadian Caricaturist, Montreal, Cercle du Livre de France,
19 Illumination and lettering is an aspect of the work of such artists as A. H. Howard, Robert Holmes. Alexander Scott Carter
and J. E. H. MacDonald which would repay study. A good starting
point would be the collection of the illuminated annual slates of
the executive of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto. A study of
cover designs for Canadian books. periodicals and
exhibition catalogues is also desirable. Finally, an index to
illustrations by Canadian artists in Canadian and foreign
periodicals is badly needed.
With the exception of those listed below, all the illustrations are
from books in the library of the Art Gallery of Toronto. Most of the
books were acquired since April 1964 through the generosity of Mr
Vincent Tovell and of Professor Beatrice Corrigan; the complete set
of the Calendars of the Toronto Art Students' League (1893-1904) was
a gift from Mr F. H. Brigden, received in 1948.
My grateful acknowledgements are due to the following for permission
to photograph books in their collection: the Toronto Public
Libraries (Figs. 8, 9, 24) Mrs E. S. Sargeant (Fig. 18) and Mr Alan
Suddon (Fig. 10). I am also indebted to the Toronto Public Libraries
for permission to photograph F. H. Varley's design for a title-page
(Fig. 25) and to Mr Thoreau MacDonald for permission to reproduce
the photograph in Figure 1.1 should also like to express my
gratitude to Miss Nancy Robertson, Mr Alan Suddon, Mr William E.
Greening, Mr Russell Harper and Mr William Toye for their valuable
help and suggestions.
The photographs, with the exception of Figures 1, 9, 10 and 24, are
by Hans Geerling, Toronto.
Note on the Illustrations
The monochrome reproductions give no idea of the vivid colours of
many of the originals. The following plates are black and white in
the original: 5, 6, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26. In some cases it has been
necessary to considerably reduce the original size of the
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