National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 7 (IV:1), 1966

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Book 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

1  |  2  |  3  |  4


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 etc.

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, Toronto 1958.

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 periodical.

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 of Toronto.

18 cf. Jean-Louis Gagnon, LaPalme, the First Twenty Years of the Canadian Caricaturist, Montreal, Cercle du Livre de France, 1950.

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 illustrations.

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