From its outset in 1909, the Island Art Club was to include in its membership representatives of the most distinguished families in the province. One of these was Rose Bullen, a granddaughter of Sir James Douglas, the first Governor of British Columbia.
Born in New Westminster in 1863, as Annie, Amelia (Rose) Bushby, she followed in the footsteps of her aunt, Martha Douglas Harris, youngest daughter of Sir James, and one of the Club’s Charter Members. The multi-talented Martha specialized in still life and portraits and was also a writer and proficient in weaving and lacemaking.
Like Martha, Rose was sent to England for schooling, where she studied drawing and music, receiving further art instruction in Germany.
In 1884, after her return to Victoria, Rose married Arthur Fitzherbert Bullen founder of the BC Marine Ways shipbuilding firm, which ultimately became Yarrows. The family home was “Oakdene” in Esquimalt, and the local Bullen Park was named for the family.
As an artist, Rose was noted for her oils and watercolours, taking inspiration from the BC landscape during her frequent travels. The watercolour shown here, entitled “Arbutus Trees,” painted in the Goldstream region, is one of the three of her works owned by the Union Club of Victoria.
Her work appeared at the Island Arts and Crafts Society’s annual exhibitions from 1917 to 1936.
She died in Victoria in 1936.
Illustrations: (1) Arbutus Trees, Watercolour on Paper (2) Rose Bullen. BC Archives, F-09364