Reverend Abraham Wood was born in Yorkshire, England, 22 July 1791. He trained as an Anglican minister and was sent out to New Brunswick by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, stopping first at Saint John in 1819 and then establishing a work as a travelling minister along the Jemseg River and Grand Lake in 1823. He married Susan Mount of Musquash and they went on to have several children, one of whom married Dr. Harry Peters, Gagetown. By all accounts he was successful and became a well-known member of the community and region for fifty years. When he died 23 January 1879, he was living in Saint John.
While he ministered to the people of Grand Lake, Reverend Abraham Wood took a keen interest in the landscape of his adopted home, producing a number of very fine watercolour views of Grand Lake and Gagetown. Whether he received training or not his work shows a very adept hand. His use of colour and the fine details of his technique demonstrate considerable skill, making his paintings some of the finest of New Brunswick art. Queens County Heritage possesses one signed work, Gage-Town Queens Co NB, 1871, from which we have now determined that at least two other unsigned works are in the same hand, Claremont, and another untitled view of Gagetown that overlooks the Peters property (his daughter’s home) toward the bend in the river where the ferry now crosses. The two unsigned paintings were ruthlessly cut down in mid-life, losing their signature but the colours, type of paper and technique all point to the same artist: Reverend Abraham Wood. All three works underwent conservation treatment by conservator Claire Titus, and were re-matted and framed making for a stunning trio when shown together.
Reverend Wood also forged strong friendships as well, especially with fellow artist and Englishman, Anthony Flower. The highlights of Anthony Flower’s well known story include his birth in London, 4 March 1792 and his subsequent migration to Washademoak Lake in 1818. He built a little house, married Mary Green, had four children, farmed the rest of his life and painted, by our count about 250 works up until his death, 9 December 1875.
Anthony Flower’s paintings are a touchstone to the past that documents a family, community and province in a period for which we have few visual or written representations. His portraits, including several of his friends, such as Reverend Wood and William Cooper Little, give us a sense of local characters in the days before photography. Portraits of royalty and political figures illustrate his interests and the cosmopolitan world view of 19th century New Brunswick. It is his landscapes, however, where his true talent shines. Whether painting local scenes along the Washademoak or something inspired by a print or periodical, his perception and attention to detail demonstrate his artistic gift.
For the exhibition several of Flower’s works were included: a portrait of friend William Cooper Little, a portrait of Lord Palmerston copied from a periodical, and both the print that inspired his painting of a coastal scene, At Freshwater, and the actual c. 1860 painting.
For more information about Reverend Wood or Anthony Flower, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.