Thursday 30 September 2021

VSC Exhibit Updates

Government House Update
Our Government House Exhibition will start in November, with our paintings being collected on November 2, at the WPP.  The opening reception is to be held early 2022.. 

VSC 2022 Art Show 
Slated for 21-27 March in the GNS Junior School. More information will be forthcoming on these activities and volunteers sought to help make all these activities come together in the manner the Victoria Sketch Club prefers. 

History Corner ~ September 2021 ~ by John Lover

Our Club records in hardcopy for the inter-war period are very sparse, and we are fortunate that this void has been filled to some degree by a scrapbook, which young people in today’s electronic age might place in the same era as the abacus. 

This volume consists solely of clippings from the two local newspapers of that era, the Daily Colonist and the Victoria Times, which in 1979 would be amalgamated to give us the current Times-Colonist. It was fortunate that the local press at that time gave assiduous attention to the goings-on at the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IACS). Consequently, the scrapbook succeeds in giving us a wealth of detail and a thread of continuity to the life of the IACS during a period which saw the rise and fall of its fortunes.

The custodian of this tome was a Scot by the name of Donald Cameron, a well known and respected member of the Society. Born in Aberdeen in 1866, he studied art at the South Kensington Art School in London and the Scottish Educational Department. He emigrated to Canada, and became an early member of the IACS, contributing to the Society’s annual exhibitions from 1911 to 1936. Cameron also exhibited in Vancouver, staged individual exhibitions, and with other Society members showed at the arts section of the Willows Agricultural Fair. After occupying various executive positions in the Society from the mid-1920s, he served as president from 1933 to 1935.

As an artist, he was adept in both watercolours, oils and pastels. An accomplished sketcher, he was an original member of the Society’s Sketch Club component. Painting in a traditional style, he was credited with a Corot-like deftness in his landscapes, typified by his 1927 Broom in Beacon Hill Park (see below). His work currently features in the collection of the BC Royal Museum Archives. (Left: Beacon Hill Park, ink on paper 12.5 x 18.0 cm)

His labours on the scrapbook are in keeping with his reputation as a conscientious administrator, known for his exhibition cataloguing and recordkeeping of Society activities.  

Cameron resigned from the Society following the end of his second year as President in 1935, and signed off his scrapbook duties with this short note posted in his elegant handwriting:

"This page practically closes my active connection with the Island Arts and Craft Society – having retired at the General Meeting, which was held December 4th, 1935."

Donald Stewart Cameron died in Victoria in 1941.

Sunday 5 September 2021

History Corner ~ August 2021 ~ by John Lover

Several of our present members will remember Peter and Liza Chesshire, two memorable personalities who both passed away during the past decade. Both were active in the club for many years, and each is remembered for specific contributions which in each case would set a tradition.

Liza’s initiative was referred to in a previous History Corner. Born in England, she served in the WRENS (Women's Royal Naval Service) during World War II and was awarded the distinguished British Empire Medal for her work as an ambulance driver during the London Blitz.

She emigrated to British Columbia in the early 1950s, settling first in Vernon and later moving to Victoria to take up a position as Matron at Glenlyon-Norfolk School. As President of our club in 1984, Liza struck a deal with the then Headmaster, an old colleague Keith Walker, whereby the school would be the venue for the club’s annual exhibitions. This is now a tradition which has endured for 37 years, interrupted only by the current Covid pandemic. 

To step back in time for a moment, Liza resigned as Matron at Glenlyon-Norfolk to take up a similar post at Shawnigan Lake Boy’s School, where in 1956 she met and married a teacher there named Peter Chesshire. The couple later moved to Victoria’s Oak Bay, when Peter secured a teaching job at St. Michael’s University School. Liza, after raising a family of two children, became a realtor.

Peter was also born in England, and after service in World War II and with a Cambridge Classics degree, emigrated to Canada. Once settled in Victoria, Peter joined his wife as a member of the club. Being an avid sketcher, with a distinctive and delicate style, he decided to organize a sketching component in the club’s Annual Show. Older club stalwarts will recall that Peter would invite members to contribute sketches by a firm cut-off date. With military precision, he would set up a large table in the old Glenlyon gymnasium, lay out the sketches and place them under a glass cover.

After Peter’s departure, the table and glass procedure was discontinued in favour of mounting sketches on walls or display panels, but, nevertheless, another Chesshire tradition had been established.