Art Under the Influence – Morris Allaire Scovil

The tradition of finding inspiration in our people and places continued into the 20th century with river scenes by Morris Allaire Scovil (1889-1968).  Born in Gagetown on 4 July 1889, Morris Allaire Scovil was the son of Morris Scovil and Harriet DuVernet.  He grew up at “Meadowlands” in Lower Jemseg – the farm at the ferry landing on the Jemseg side.  Upon his mother’s death in 1903, his father’s sister, noted nurse, editor and author Elizabeth Robinson Scovil returned to the farm to look after Morris and his siblings.  He attended school in Gagetown and went on to study at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia.  On 30 March 1915 he enlisted with the 6th Canadian Mounted Rifles and was in the second battle at Ypres.  His attestation papers describe him as 5 ft 8 inches tall with light brown hair and blue eyes and noted previous military service as five years with the 28th New Brunswick Dragoons.  He was captured and spent time in Germany and Holland as a prisoner of war.  He returned to Canada and on 17 March 1920 married Mary Madeleine Bliss, daughter of Gerald Courtenaye Wentworth Bliss and Frances R. Crane, in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Morris Allaire Scovil (1889-1968), painting: Victoria Arriving at a Wharf, c. 1964, oil on panel, gift of Mrs. R.K. Nevers, 1974 (1974.497.1)

Morris Allaire Scovil (1889-1968)
painting: Victoria Arriving at a Wharf, c. 1964
oil on panel
Gift of Mrs. R.K. Nevers, 1974 (1974.497.1) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

The Scovils lived in Manitoba and England where he ran a commercial sales and service business, eventually returning to Amherst where he worked as director of the Maritime Stockbreeders Association.  Morris Scovil took up oil painting in his retirement and studied with Fred Nicholson, Alfred Whitehead and Willard Morse Mitchell.  He died in 1968 in Amherst, Nova Scotia.  His work depicts landscape scenes in and around the Maritimes and was popular with tourists traveling through the Maritimes. In 1955 the Nova Scotia Government purchased one of his paintings for its permanent collection and in 1957 an Amherst Daily News article noted proudly that Scovil was “Proclaimed One Of Nova Scotia’s Most Prolific Landscape artists”.  This view of the steamer Victoria approaching a wharf is similar to another work in the collection of the NBM and reflects his memories of life along the St. John River.  The Victoria was the largest steamer ever on the river and operated between 1897 and 1916, measuring 200 feet long and capable of carrying up to 1000 passengers.   Imagine sitting at Meadowlands and watching such a majestic vessel steam by your front door!

This work was featured in Art Under the Influence.  For more information or if you have any additional information, please contact us at info@queenscountyheritage.com.  We would really like to have a photograph of Mr. Scovil!

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Queens County Heritage 2012 Honours and Awards

Bruce Thomson presents the President's Award to Shawna Quinn

Bruce Thomson presents the President’s Award to Shawna Quinn

Queens County Heritage is very pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 Honours and Awards which were given out at a Christmas Reception on Friday, 23 November in advance of Christmas in the Village.  The reception is a member and friends event to preview the Tilley House decorations, share some good cheer and thank the many people who support Queens County Heritage.  The awards are presented to individuals, groups or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the preservation, collection and interpretation of Queens County heritage and culture.  In his welcome and opening remarks, President Bruce Thomson noted that so many people help to make Queens County Heritage work on a daily basis and these awards are recognition of the army of people who make such outstanding contributions.  On hand to present the awards in addition to Thomson were Vice-Presidents Jill Merritt-Coy, Mary Anne Chrisjohn, Lynn Mills, Gerald Breau, and Executive Director Susan Shalala.

The award for Public Programming was given to Linda Nicholson-Dempsey and the Eco-Kids Program of the Cambridge-Narrows School.  In the spring of 2011 and 2012, this group of students planted a heritage vegetable garden at the Anthony Flower House, which has improved the Flower House site and provided a means of engagement between the students and the historic site.

Gillian Christie-Noble, Oromocto Post-Gazette received the Communication and Public Awareness award for her unfailing coverage of our events.  Whether an exhibition opening, funding announcement or a fun event, Gillian is on site with a recorder and camera to capture our activities and make our region aware of the many things we do.

Eco-Kids of the Cambridge-Narrows School

Eco-Kids of the Cambridge-Narrows School

The award for Sustainability and Development was given to Milton D’Aoust for his volunteer services as groundskeeper – which made for a savings of over $4000 to our budget.  Lawns, signs, plumbing and furniture moving are just a few of the tasks that kept Milton busy over the summer.  Is it generosity or wanting to be near his sweetie?  We’re not sure but we appreciate the work no matter what the motivation!

INK Graphic Design, Saint John, was recognized for several years of work creating the interpretive panels, labels, posters and other promotional materials for Queens County Heritage with the Preservation and Interpretation Award.  Their beautiful work has greatly enhanced our exhibitions over the years and made for many memorable visitor experiences.

Her Majesty, The Queen

Her Majesty, The Queen

Susan Shalala presented the Director’s Award to MLA Ross Wetmore for his support and invaluable assistance since becoming our provincial member.  It is exciting and gratifying to have a partner in the community like Ross who recognizes our work and is always looking out for our best interests and opportunities.  Not to be outdone, Ross then presented a Diamond Jubilee photographic portrait of The Queen to Queens County Heritage which will be placed at the Court House.

Finally, the President’s Award was given to Shawna Quinn, a member, former board member and previous VP Preservation and Interpretation who was responsible for the development and implementation of numerous policies and procedures, preparation of the annual report for many years, and co-curator of several exhibitions.

The board, staff, members and friends of Queens County Heritage extend our heartiest congratulations to the 2012 Honours and Awards recipients and wish all of Queens County the best in 2013!

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Art Under the Influence – Caroline A. Slipp Gilbert

Caroline A. Slipp Gilbert (1866-1900), painting: Landscape, 1897, oil on board, gift of Doris Neill Brundage, 1995 (1995.64)

Caroline A. Slipp Gilbert (1866-1900)
painting: Landscape, 1897
oil on board
Gift of Doris Neill Brundage, 1995 (1995.64) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

Very little is known about Caroline Slipp Gilbert.  Carrie, as she was known, was born about 1866, the daughter of John Slipp and Julia Colwell, Free Baptists of Upper Hampstead.   She married Thomas Winslow Gilbert, the son of Dr. Humphrey Gilbert and Margaret Hewlett of Gagetown, 11 October 1899.  Carrie died in childbirth 26 October 1900 and her death is referenced in Samuel Crawford’s diary.  Thomas married Margaret Ethel Law in 1905 and died 18 October 1925.

This is the only known example of Caroline’s work and shows some skill.  If she had an interest, like most young women of her time she would have pursued painting as a pastime or a means of entertainment.  Certainly she married later in life by 19th century standards, but there is no evidence she worked professionally or had formal training.  The painting seems to be an amalgamation of scenes.  The foreground looks like something local including a facsimile of a New Brunswick woodboat.  The high mountains of the background however indicate something made up or perhaps like Anthony Flower, something she has seen in a magazine or book.  The frame is in excellent condition with a few minor losses over time.  Unfortunately, the painting itself was viciously over-cleaned as some point, losing some of its original sky and water colouring in the process.  This painting was part of Art Under the Influence in the summer of 2012.

If anyone has additional information regarding Caroline, we would be thrilled to find out more about her.  To see the painting in person, visit us in the summer or contact info@queenscountyheritage.com.

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Art Under the Influence – John Thomas Millidge

John Thomas Millidge (1850-before 1911), drawing: Stag and Mountains, c. 1880, graphite on paper, Queens County Heritage Collection (1987.42a)

John Thomas Millidge (1850-before 1911)
drawing: Stag and Mountains, c. 1880
graphite on paper
Queens County Heritage Collection (1987.42a) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

John Thomas Millidge (1850-c 1919) was the son of John J. Millidge and Isabella Peters, and the great-grandson of James Peters, one of the Loyalist founders of Gagetown.  It appears John Sr. was the local schoolteacher and died relatively young in the 1870s; Isabella in 1890s.  Young John Thomas appears in all census records up to 1901 but disappears from the record by 1911 indicating his death.  According to a story written by Marianne Grey Otty about 1940, he died in the flu epidemic following World War I. In the late 19th century he lived with his mother’s unmarried sisters, the Peters girls who ran a school for young women in the large Peters House at Gagetown, and worked as a handyman.  Again, according to Miss Otty, he later lived with the Fred Cooper family by the time of the war.

John Thomas Millidge (1850-before 1911), drawing: Backyard Scene, c. 1880 graphite on paper, gift of Dr. James K. Chapman, 1988 (1988.59)

John Thomas Millidge (1850-before 1911)
drawing: Backyard Scene, c. 1880
graphite on paper
Gift of Dr. James K. Chapman, 1988 (1988.59) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

His drawings appear to be copies of prints or something he has seen in a magazine (similar to Anthony Flower) however the detail and execution is very fine.  His uncle, Dr. Harry Peters, was married to Ann Wood, the daughter of Reverend Abraham Wood making an interesting family connection to a fine artist.  In the Otty story, it is noted that”here and there in Gagetown homes are to be seen lead pencil drawings of the most careful execution and meticulous detail.” As the children of Fred Cooper swarmed over him, he would draw pictures of them or give them candy.

Millidge’s precise death date and burial is unknown and the details of his life are rather scarce; the only tangible links to his life are two drawings which appeared in Art Under the Influence.

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Art Under the Influence – Annie Hewlett Deveber

attributed to Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927), painting: Ferns, c. 1900, watercolour on paper, gift of Dr. James K. Chapman, 1988 (1988.60)

attributed to Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927)
painting: Ferns, c. 1900
watercolour on paper
Gift of Dr. James K. Chapman, 1988 (1988.60) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

With the likes of Abraham Wood and Anthony Flower working as artists in Queens County, it is little wonder that an interest in fine art carried through to subsequent generations.  Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927), Gagetown was clearly inspired by the works of these men with her copies of their work and her own still lifes of leaves and ferns.  Working in watercolour, her ability to capture the fine details of an object in front of her is exceptional.  The still lifes and her ceramic paintings are certainly her forte with landscapes presenting more of a challenge for her.  In our collection is a landscape of the Otty homestead in Kings County which is a copy of an Abraham Wood painting in the collection of the New Brunswick Museum.  In comparing the works side by side, one can appreciate both the talent of Mrs. Deveber but also the superior skill of Reverend Wood.  The Deveber work is a very good copy and it is clear she was learning as she worked, however a naivety appear in her work with awkward details in elements such as stones and the nuances of sky.  For Art Under the Influence, the painting of Ferns, c. 1900 was exhibited and in turn inspired a work of jewellery by Gagetown artisan, Jean Fraser.

attributed to Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927), painting: Maple Leaves, c. 1900, watercolour on paper, gift of Adrena M. Paisley Raven, 1976 (1976.75.7)

attributed to Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927)
painting: Maple Leaves, c. 1900
watercolour on paper
Gift of Adrena M. Paisley Raven, 1976 (1976.75.7) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

Annie Hewlett Deveber  was the wife Gabriel Deveber IV (1854-1934), the son of Gabriel Deveber III (1820-1854) and Benjamina Gabriella Deveber (1822-1892) of Gagetown.  Annie married Gabriel IV somewhat later in life given the standards of the day on 27 August 1889 at the age of 34.  She was the youngest daughter of Richard Hewlett (c. 1797-1887) and Margaret Paddock (c. 1813-1873).  Annie and Gabriel had one child, Gabrielle, born in November 1890 but who died a few months later in August 1891 of “congestion of the brain”.

The Devebers lived in the magnificent gothic house in Gagetown,  built 1852-1854 by Lorenzo Langen, called Claremont.  The house is based upon one of Andrew Jackson Downing’s plans for Victorian cottages and houses and is one of the finest buildings along the St. John River.  The family itself includes several prominent Loyalists and early leaders of Gagetown and Queens County.  Gabriel IV’s grandfather was Nathaniel Deveber (1785-1877), the High Sheriff of Queens County for decades.

Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927), Christmas Greetings, 20 December 1884, gift of M. Patricia Jenkins, 1974 (1975.485)

Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927)
Christmas Greetings, 20 December 1884
Gift of M. Patricia Jenkins, 1974 (1975.485) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

As we count the days to Christmas, one of our favourite objects is this  little holiday greeting dated 20 December 1884. Queens County Heritage is proud to possess several other examples of Annie Hewlett Deveber’s works including  a Bohemian glass vase from about 1900.  As noted above, little is known about her background or training, however her work is recognized as very fine and more than competent.

To see the works of Annie Hewlett Deveber in person, be sure to stop by next summer to see the pieces close-up!

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Art Under the Influence – Reverend Abraham Wood and Anthony Flower

Claremont, c 1865, gift of Arthur Coombes, 2011

Reverend Abraham Wood (1791-1879)
painting: Claremont, c 1865
watercolour on paper
Gift of Arthur Coombes, 2011 (2011.18.1) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

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.

Reverend Abraham Wood (1791-1879), painting: Gagetown, New Brunswick, c 1865, watercolour on paper, gift of Adrena M. Paisley Raven, 1976 (1976.75.8)

Reverend Abraham Wood (1791-1879)
painting: Gagetown, New Brunswick, c 1865
watercolour on paper
Gift of Adrena M. Paisley Raven, 1976 (1976.75.8) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

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.

7.Anthony Flower (1792-1875), painting: William Cooper Little, 1835, watercolour on paper, gift of Donald McEdward, 2011 (2011.14.1)

Anthony Flower (1792-1875)
painting: William Cooper Little, 1835
watercolour on paper
Gift of Donald McEdward, 2011 (2011.14.1) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

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.

Anthony Flower (1792-1875) after Samuel Prout (1783-1852), and Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834), painting: At Freshwater, c. 1860, watercolour on paper, collection of Roger and Mary Frances Fruin, gift of Karen Todd, 2007 (2007.87.3.2)

Anthony Flower (1792-1875) after Samuel Prout (1783-1852), and Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834)
painting: At Freshwater, c. 1860
watercolour on paper
Collection of Roger and Mary Frances Fruin, gift of Karen Todd, 2007 (2007.87.3.2) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

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 info@queenscountyheritage.com.

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Art Under the Influence – Susan A. MacDonald

Susan A. MacDonald (1851-1948), painting: Still Life, 1887, oil on canvas, gift of Nellie Purdy, 1969 (1969.411c)

Susan A. MacDonald (1851-1948)
painting: Still Life, 1887
oil on canvas
Gift of Nellie Purdy, 1969 (1969.411c) © 2019 All Rights Reserved Queens County Heritage

While migrant and itinerant artists had an impact on Queens County, the level of homegrown, professionally trained talent is impressive as well.  Susan A. MacDonald was born 19 February 1851, the daughter of James MacDonald and Sarah Smith, MacDonald’s Corner.  A neighbour of Anthony Flower, Miss MacDonald would have known him in her youth and perhaps got a taste for painting from him.  She lived in Boston for much of her life, unmarried, working as a dressmaker and artist, receiving a Certificate of Achievement at the City of Boston Free Evening Industrial Drawing Schools in May 1884 for the completion of a two year program.  While known for china painting and painting on fabrics, she was also very skilled with oil on canvas.  Her July 1887 still life of a vase with flowers, on a table covered with a beautiful cloth or tapestry illustrates a very accomplished hand.  By 1911 she retired to Queens County to live with her sister Ella, who had married Inglewood Flower, Anthony Flower’s grandson.  A 1947 newspaper article to celebrate her 96th birthday notes she was still winning prizes at the Queens County Fair for her handwork!  Susan A. MacDonald died 26 July 1948 from pneumonia after a bout of measles.

Before conservation treatment

Before conservation treatment

Even though the painting has been part of our collection since 1969, it had never been exhibited because of two fairly large holes in the canvas which distracted from an otherwise outstanding painting.  Courtesy of the Fine Art Conservation program of the province, the holes were repaired and the painting surface cleaned by Adam Karpowicz, so that it could be part of Art Under the Influence and subsequent display.

For more information about Susan MacDonald or to see the painting in person, contact us at info@queenscountyheritage.com.

 

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