Mary Riter Hamilton collection [graphic material]

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    Context of this record:
    • Mary Riter Hamilton collection
      Mary Riter Hamilton collection
  • Fonds includes:
    227 lower level description(s)
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    Place of creation:
    Added country of publication:
    British Columbia
    180 paintings : oil.
    45 drawings : chalk, charcoal, pastel, and pencil.
    5 prints : etching, aquatint.
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    Scope and content:
    Fonds consists of original works of art, primarily oil paintings, done by Mary Riter Hamilton in an effort to document the battlefields of Western Europe in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Included are views in Belgium, primarily Ypres and Zillebecke, and in France, at Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Cambrai, Arras, and other locations, as well as views of cemeteries, ruined villages and other sites. Also included are two pastel portraits (1916), one of Dr. Rudolph Martin Anderson, and of his wife Mae Bell Anderson (née Allstrand). Both paintings are inscribed "1:1/ Mary Riter Hamilton/ Victoria, B.C./ 1916. In addition, there is an oil painting of the Rocky Mountains from 1912.
    Additional name(s):
    Biography/Administrative history:
    Hamilton, Mary Riter, 1867-1954: Mary Riter Hamilton was born in Teeswater, Ontario on September 7, 1867, to John and Charity Riter (née Zimmerman). Her early years were spent in Clearwater, Manitoba where she met and married Charles W. Hamilton in 1889. Following the death of her husband in 1893, Hamilton turned to art to support herself, training in Toronto under George Agnew Reid, Mary Heister Reid and Wyly Grier. She further developed her talent by studying in Europe and working under such personalities as Jacques-Emile Blanche and Paul-Jean Gervais. In 1906 she returned to Winnipeg, thereafter moving to Victoria in 1914. After the First World War, Hamilton travelled to France to paint the battlefields of Europe, a tribute to those who were killed, maimed and wounded in the Great War. She successfully exhibited her work in Europe and Canada and was officially recognized in France in 1922. In 1929, Hamilton moved to Vancouver where she remained until her death in 1954, at the age of eighty-six. She is buried in Port Arthur next to her husband Charles. MacDonald, Colin S. Dictionary of Canadian Artists, vol. 2 (Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks), 1968. Iavarone, Mike. "The Battlefield Art of Mary Riter Hamilton." World War I Trenches on the Web. 15 Jan. 2000. 21 Sept. 2001. 3039834
    Finding aid:
    Graphic material: (Electronic) Item level descriptions available on-line in LAC database (99 99: Closed pending processing)

    Additional information:
    General Note:
    Acquired from Mary Riter Hamilton, Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1926 and from Mrs. Stanley Smith, Ottawa, Ontario in 1983. Acquired at auction in 2017.
    For many years Mary Riter Hamilton's birth year was thought to be 1873. An examination of the 1871 Canada Census, however, reveals that she is listed as a three-year old. Analysis of the 1881 Census and the 1891 Census, as well as Mary Riter Hamilton's marriage record, further confirms that she was born in September of 1867. In April of 1871 when the census was taken, Mary would have been 3; in April of 1881, she would have been 13; in April of 1891, she would have been 23. When Mary married in July of 1889, she would have been 21. Mary Riter Hamilton died on April 5, 1954, at the age of 86. Her death certificate lists her birth date as September 7, 1869, but the evidence from other records suggests that this date was incorrect.
    Exhibitions note:
    Many of the images in accession 1988-180 (DAP) were exhibited in a 1923 exhibition in London, England entitled "Impressions of the battlefields after the Armistice". Several were also loaned for an exhibition at the Armando Museum in Holland, curated by Petra Halkes, in 2002-2003.
    Related material:
    Refer also to Rudolph Martin Anderson and Mae Bell Allstrand fonds, MIKAN descriptive record 106977.
    Container note(s):
    Related control no.:
    1983-095 PIC
    1988-180 DAP
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