Rare items from McGill Library featured in the National Gallery of Canada’s exhibit “Artists, Architects and Artisans”

Percy Nobbs (1875-1963). Alterations to St. James Church, Trois-Rivières, Drawing 23B: Pelican on panel over altar 12 November 1916. Watercolour and graphite on paper 63.2 x 91.7 cm. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Library, Montreal

Percy Nobbs (1875-1963). Alterations to St. James Church, Trois-Rivières, Drawing 23B: Pelican on panel over altar 12 November 1916. Watercolour and graphite on paper 63.2 x 91.7 cm. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University Library, Montreal

In Ottawa over the holidays? The National Gallery’s exhibit “Artists, Architects and Artisans” features about 80 pieces from McGill’s Rare and Special Collections including: rough sketches, presentation watercolours, hand-drawn scale drawings of exteriors, photographs of the interiors, and even pieces of furniture. The major national exhibition draws extensively from the archives of the Maxwell Brothers and Percy Nobbs, housed in the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection right here on campus. The official description is as follows:

The decades following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 to the end of the First World War saw Canada grow from an awkward alliance of formerly independent colonies to an agricultural and industrial nation. Optimism and a new spirit of national pride marked the peak boom years, stimulated by the immense growth in population due to immigration. Urban growth demanded new buildings, which became shells for civic ambitions and new opportunities for art workers. From the furnishings and interiors of a house, to the design and decoration of a public building, to the planning of the streetscape and larger urban fabric, it was an age of reform. Artists, architects and artisans worked together in cooperative ventures, introducing painting into architecture and the design and fabrication of furnishings. This exhibition examines the architecture, urban plans, painting, applied arts, graphic design and photography of a quality previously unparalleled in the country’s short history. Read more at the NGC Magazine.

Rare books librarian Ann Marie Holland provides a great summary of the Library’s involvement here. A positive review of the NGC exhibition a s a whole was also recently published in The Globe and Mail here.

“Artists, Architects and Artisans” runs until February 17th, 2014. For more information regarding the exhibit including opening hours click here. For a taste of what the exhibit has to offer, visit the minisite and photo gallery.

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