In these days of Wiis, iPods and other high-tech gadgets of the 21st century it may have been impossible to find that perfect gift for someone on your Christmas list. Maybe a look back in time can provide some inspiration for next year or at least provide a distraction while your credit card bills start rolling in.
In the collection of Queens County Heritage are a number of items that at one time or another were Christmas gifts. How do we know? Oral histories and family traditions accompany some objects when they are acquired, but often we are even luckier with an inscription or note attached. Toys and children’s items are rare simply because they were given to be used and handed down from one child to the next, making longevity and preservation difficult. Items associated with a particular date or person, are even more valuable. The earliest items that could be classified as toys that we know to be Christmas gifts are a wagon, a book and two dolls. A porcelain headed doll with a crocheted body was given to Edith by Mary C about 1900. The doll’s head is of German origin and originally would have had arms and legs; however sometime in the early 20th century, the crocheted body was created. This body is a replacement. The identity of Edith and Mary C is lost at the moment and shaking the donor’s family tree so far has not dislodged them, but the original gift tag accompanied the doll when it was donated in 1975. Visitors to the Art Under the Influence exhibition will recall this doll as the inspiration for Cheryl Bogart’s painting, Tied Up.
In fact, the exhibition was developed and inspired by Cheryl Bogart’s 2004 painting of this doll. It seemed to us the most vivid example of artists drawing their inspiration from a variety of sources – the landscape, the people around them, another artist, or an interesting object. QCH purchased this painting for the collection in 2011, in honour of Cheryl Bogart’s 25 years of faithful service as Secretary to the Board of Directors (1986-2011).
Trinity Gallery, Saint John, has described Cheryl as follows:
Cheryl Bogart was born in New Brunswick and continues to live here today. She is a self-taught artist, whose work has matured to a high level of technical excellence. Through the interplay of highly decorative detail and spare irony, a powerful message emerges from each painting which cannot be ignored. Bogart’s paintings have appeared in numerous exhibitions and competitions. Her paintings are in the permanent collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the University of Moncton and several private and corporate collections in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia.
“My Paintings are about the passage of time, the laughter, the beauty and sometimes, the despair of our lives. A writer has said that ‘Our lives go by like sparks flying’. I strive to catch bits of these brief and brilliant sparks and to paint them as they shower and disappear around me.” – C. Bogart
The vitality of the historical Queens County art community is clear and continues to this day. From AG Hoit, Thomas MacDonald, Anthony Flower, Abraham Wood, Susan MacDonald, Caroline Slipp Gilbert, John Millidge, Annie Hewlett Deveber, Frank MacDonald, Morris Scovil, William West, Mary Pratt, Rhoda Chapman to Cheryl Bogart and dozens of other currently working and living in our region. As part of the exhibition, contemporary artist and artisans created their own masterpieces inspired by the historical work from the collection. The overwhelming response showcased the strength of our arts community in the 21st century and continues the legacy of artistic excellence.
For more information about Art Under the Influence or any of the artists featured in this series, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org