Autographs 6 - On Paintings, Engravings, & Prints

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Titled & annotated Pencil Sketch
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Manitowaning Church, Lake Huron - John Caddy, 1853
Orig. sketch pad - Size - 30 x 40 cm
Found - Napanee, ON

A fabulous autographed pencil sketch by John Caddy has every bit as much personal punch as any painting, maybe even more so, because sketches like this were invariably made on site. The sketch travelled with him in his artist's box, in and out of carriages, boats, or while he walked. (This was removed from his sketch book.)

Whereas paintings were often done in the studio exactly from sketches like this. So invariably, sketches were more true to the original place than the paintings subsequently produced from them.

John spent a long time on this sketch, sitting there in the field, and produced it in exquisite detail.

St. Paul's at Manitowaning is probably the oldest church in Northern Ontario and was already ten years old when John drew it in 1854.

 

A century later AJ Casson came by and did his version.

John Caddy's sketch gives us a view of many Ontario towns around 1850 - they were stripped bare of any tree or bush within reach, all used for firewood or building material. Today these same places are overgrown with trees and bushes due to environmentally conscious people who have also become prosperous enough to use other fuels for heat and cooking, and other materials for building.

Go to John Caddy
Signed & annotated Watercolour on Paper
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

An extremely rare treasure is this autographed and inscribed water colour which recently turned up in Toronto, displaying another side of Great Canadian writer Susanna Moodie, which few Canadians - even those who read her books - are aware of - her immense talent for painting.


This should not be surprising. In the 19th century literate women, of the pretending classes in Britain and Canada, were expected to develop a talent for painting, as were their male counterparts, especially those in the military professions.

In fact probably Canada's most famous and most beloved paintings, of the 19th century, were the fabulous and huge pictures of voyageur canoes by Frances Ann Hopkins.

Watercolours done and signed by important people are nice; when they are further inscribed they are fabulous because it says where and when a painting was done.

Go Susanna's Place

Ladyslippers, Susanna Moodie, 1874
Orig. wc on board - Size - 30 x 38 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed - "Susanna Moodie, Lakefield, North Douro, 1874"

Signed Watercolour on Silk
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A highly unusual work being watercolour on silk signed by Edgar Holloway a prominent Victorian and Edwardian artist.


Tommy Atkins' Friend, by Edgar Alfred Holloway, 1899, or
The Charge of the Gordons at Dargai, Oct. 20, 1897
Orig. watercolour on silk - Image Size - 40 x 61 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed Edgar A Holloway '99, and titled.
Go to Edgar Holloway

Signed & annotated Gouache

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Simply Fabulous! As fine, or finer, than anything David Blackwood ever did at his peak, is this superlative gouache which JD Kelly painted of the historic Newfoundland fishery in its heyday. A specially fine addition are JD's hand written notations on the matte.

Go to JD Kelly

Danny Williams, the Premier of Newfoundland is using the club his people have traditionally used on baby seals, on a new enemy - greedy Come-From-Away politicians like Prime Minister Harper who is trying to give him the finger and take Newfoundland's newfound oil wealth for himself and his cronies, by going back on a deal he promised Danny before... Typical isn't it...

Hit him again Danny, he's still flip-floppin'...


The Wealth of Our Seas - JD Kelly
Orig. gouache wc - Size - 54 x 76 cm
Found - Brampton, ON
Annotated and initialed in JD Kelly's hand, Prov - JD Kelly friend collection

If gouaches get finer than this we have not seen them.

The Discovery of Canada: It was the enormous richness of the Newfoundland fishery that led Europeans to discover and develop Canada in the first place. The fishery was the founding industry of Canada, and for centuries would remain one of the main pillars that sustained economic life in Canada; it was also the mainstay of family life in the Atlantic provinces.

Into modern times, more than any other Canadians, the people of Canada's maritime provinces depended on the fishery to sustain and feed their families, to a degree approaching that of the hunting and gathering lifestyle of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples.

Then they found huge reserves of oil within Newfoundland's territorial waters; and the sharks gathered...

Titled & annotated Artist's Proof
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous titled and annotated Artist's Proof by JD Kelly.

It's very rare to find the hand written working materials used by famous artists to create their master works. This AP is superlative because JD used this very proof with its aligning holes to created the colour standards he released to the public. Besides being the very materials he worked with, it also bears information on when and how the final was used - in a calendar in 1934.

Pierre de la Vérendrye on the Upper St. Maurice River, 1725 - JD Kelly
Orig. Personal Artist's Proof - Size - 36 x 44 cms
Found - Aberfoyle, ON
Titled , Annotated - Proof 2, Virendrye, etc., verso, 1934 Bank of Commerce Calendar - all in JD Kelly's hand, Original printer registration marks, Prov - JD Kelly friend collection

 

 

The Hand of Kelly: JD's hand was as powerful in portraying French-Canadian history, in his paintings, as he was shaky in grasping the nuances of Gallic spelling. Did Pierre spell his last name with an "i" and a dot - the way it sounds - or with an "e" with a grave? JD did it both ways, just to be sure, both wrong of course. But then these were just his scribbled private notes; no one would ever see them...

In 1934, the Bank of Commerce commissioned JD to paint a picture, celebrating this Great Canadian Explorer, for its annual calendar. To remember for whom he painted the picture he wrote the details on the back of his personal AP.

Triple-signed Engraving
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Unbelievably fabulous is this huge, original, triple autographed engraving of Queen Alexandra, from 1905.

It features the personal autograph of Alexandra herself, that of Sir Luke Fildes, who painted the original portrait in oil below, and the man who did the engraving from the painting, Joseph Pratt, all written on the edge of this very engraving.

Fildes was the most renowned painter of the upper classes at the end of the Victorian, and during the Edwardian eras. Joseph Bishop Pratt was an esteemed Victorian engraver.


Engraving, Queen Alexandra - Sir Luke Fildes, Joseph Pratt - 1905
Orig. engraving - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Napanee, ON

Engravings do not come any better than this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This painting was commissioned by King Edward VII himself. A duplicate painting of him exists also.

A parallel triple signed engraving of him also exists, but has parted company with its mate decades ago.

Luke Fildes, and below perhaps his most famous painting: The Doctor, antique prints of which turn up frequently at rural Ontario auctions.

 

Signed Pastel

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Without question, one of the most important autographed works in pastel in Canada today.

J'accuse! Pride, Pain, & Pastel Power - One of Canada's most famous Indian chiefs, celebrated in one of Canada's finest Indian portraits, done by a leading Canadian painter renowned for his powerful portraits of important Indian leaders a century ago.

What other Canadian portrait better expresses, the pride of a noble leader, the pain of a people betrayed - as well as reflect a tragic episode in Canadian history - than does this pastel tour de force by one of Canada' s finest artists?

A Face for the Ages: Letting more than a little of his slip show, Edmund Morris breaks every studio posing convention with this stunning portrait. Echoing a police mug shot - a sly allusion to the contemporary white view of this imprisoned native leader - Morris fires back with one of the most powerful faces in Canadian art history - clearly intending it to be a portrait for the ages. He brashly faces Poundmaker, fully frontal, in a clearly accusatory confrontation of an aboriginal leader with his white audience.

And obviously Edmund is standing right behind him. No smiling tourist pose here; no Hollywood Indian savage; no studio posed museum redskin. No fussy feathers, or fancy headdress; no pretty bead work. No cradled tomahawk - a veiled threat of force - or a ceremonial peace pipe - acknowledging a just and happily concluded negotiation. Stripped of the props and poses, beloved by studio portrait painters of Indians, Edmund gives us only a man in a cheap shirt - but what a face! It exudes the power of immense self-assurance, of personal pride, of moral purpose, but also of trust betrayed in those accusing eyes.We are given a superlative portrait of a human being in great pain. Only later do you realize Morris has also painted an Indian - a masterwork of a tortured face which reflects a great tragedy in Canadian aboriginal history.

Go to Edmund Morris

Petocahhanawawin - Poundmaker, Edmund Morris 1910
Orig. pastel - Size - 15" x 21"
Found - Toronto, ON
Pastel on paper, and signed by Edmund Morris







Signed & annotated Acrylic
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Absolutely fabulous double autographed, titled, and dated work in acrylic by Canada's finest Aboriginal painter, Norval Morrisseau.

Acrylics don't get better than this.

Because Canada has developed a strong tradition of Aboriginal painters, you have to become familiar with syllabics with which some sign their names, so you can tell the real from the fake signatures.

This superior work from Norval's top period - the 1970s - is quadruply fine because it has his signature in English on the back, as well as the title, and the date it was painted.

Unlike modernist artists, who just slap paint on, in any old way, and do it so fast, and so often, they can't even come up with a name for whatever it is they have slopped together, Norval took pride enough in his work to give it a title that had real meaning to him.

To him a painting had to have a message, not merely be slapped together quickly for a sale to some nearby motivated buyer.

Go to Norval Morrisseau
Journey from Circle of Embodyment, 1977 - Norval Morrisseau
Orig. acrylic on canvas - Size - 51h" x 56w"
Found - Pickering, ON
Signed, front syllabics; on back, Journey from Circle of Embodyment, Norval Morrisseau c 1977

Signed Oil
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A spectacular discovery, from the dispersal of a leading Ontario family estate, is this glorious masterwork that has probably not been seen outside the family mansion since it was acquired, probably directly from the artist, early in the 1930s.

Without a doubt, one of the most fabulous works of art ever painted to celebrate a great Canadian heritage moment, Shooting the Rapids by Arthur Heming, has ingrained itself in the historical imagination of countless millions of Canadians of all ages.

Though pencil sketches, watercolours, gouaches, acrylics, and pastels are every bit as glorious in celebrating the artistry of gifted people, the snobbery of art marketing puts the oil above all others.

Go to Arthur Heming

Shooting the Rapids, Arthur Heming, 1930
Orig. oil on canvas - Size - 52.5 x 70 cms
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed Bronze
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure An extremely rare and fabulous bronze bust of Queen Victoria, created by Canadian sculptor Hamilton MacCarthy, in 1897, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

It is the tallest bust we've seen at 46 cm high and weighs a back-breaking 11.8 kg.

Original signatures on bronzes, or plasters, are made by the artist on the mother moulds, and are then copied when the bust is cast. If the artist made them, or supervised the casting, they are considered original signed pieces.

Bronzes cast later, by others, are lesser in value as the emotional link with the hands of the master has been broken, and because the moulds from which they are made may be second or third generation, losing definition along the way. These, though cast long after the artist died, still carry the early date, so can be considered bogus bronzes or fakes - they are not cast on the date stated or by the artist who signed, but often crafted by a seedy repro man for a disreputable antique salesman.

The original busts - especially bronzes - were expensive and only the wealthier classes could afford to have them on their mantles.

Hamilton Thomas Carleton Plantagenet MacCarthy (1846-1939) is in the front rank of Canada's very finest sculptors.

He was early on, recognized for his superior talent, when the Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada, who, with his wife, Princess Louise, essentially founded the National Gallery of Canada, donated his bust of a smiling girl to the collection in 1884. It is an early number - 177 - in the catalogue of Canada's treasured items.

Go to Hamilton MacCarthy

 


Queen Victoria - Hamilton MacCarthy 1897
Orig. bronze bust - Size - 46 cm, wt 11.8 kg
Found - Shakespeare, ON
Signed H MacCarthy RCA, Sculptor, 1897
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