Monday 31 October 2022

Artist of the Week series

What's up with Artist of the Week?
This is a great opportunity to showcase members' art on social media including Facebook and Instagram – we have accounts with each one.
How can I participate?
If you'd like to participate, please send 3 to 5 photos of your art + bio/artists statement (no more than 3 sentences) to Vicky T, Communications Director @ or directly to Vicky (see newsletter)
Because it's an excellent way to highlight your work to online viewers; it is also great advertising for our Club and upcoming show.
Let’s see lots of participation for this initiative in 2022-2023!
~ Vicky T

History Corner ~ October 2022 by John Lover

Among the audience at the launch of our History Book at Abkhazi Gardens in 2008 was the late Moira Anderson and her family. This lady, a former book shop owner, was well known in Victoria’s cultural circles. She subsequently produced a watercolour painting, rather faded, but interestingly showing a view of Mai (Todd) Gillespie’s garden, next door to Abkhazi Gardens. 

The artist in question was Maude Paget, and Moira was keen to know about Maude’s contribution to our Club’s annual exhibitions. We were happy to investigate.

Maude de Kirkby Paget was born in 1874 in Penrith, England, where she attended the Carlisle School of Art prior to her family’s emigration to Canada in 1891, where she continued her interest in art. 

While living in Souris, Manitoba, Maude became acquainted with her contemporary Nellie McClung, the well-known pioneering feminist, and was commissioned to illustrate the cover of McClung’s autobiography, “Clearing in the West; My Own Story.” 

Trained in commercial art, Maude was an artist for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Winnipeg and Spenser’s Department Store in Vancouver.

In 1920 she arrived in Victoria where she was to spend most of her life. The same year she became a member of the Island Art and Crafts Society and contributed 11 paintings to its annual exhibition. She went on exhibit with the Society every year up to 1928.

Maude became well known for her miniatures and exhibited in jury shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery an also featured in the BC Artists Christmas exhibition at the Gallery in 1933 and 1934. She received numerous commissions for her miniatures until eye strain obliged her to turn to portraiture and landscape painting, at which she was equally adept and able to contribute to the arts community by painting portraits of local socialites and local scenes. 

Maude Paget died in Victoria in 1967, where her obituary in the local papers included the words, “Miniatures, My Forte.”  Her gravestone lies in the Royal Oak Burial Park Cemetery.

Monday 10 October 2022

History Corner ~ September 2022 by John Lover

 In a previous History Corner of October 2020, featuring members of our Club who were practicing architects, there was an omission of sufficient significance and interest to be made good this time.

William Jacobus (Jacques) Semeyn was born in Grouw, the Netherlands, in 1890. He inherited the hereditary title of Baron, reportedly bestowed on his family by Prince William of Orange. He trained as an architect in Amsterdam where he practiced for five years before emigrating to Canada, making his way to Vancouver by train.

Arriving in Victoria in 1908, he worked with Samuel Maclure who was by that time operating an established and well-respected architectural practice in the city. Like Maclure, Semeyn was a talented artist, and together with his fellow architect, he became a founder member of the Island Arts Club in 1909.

He first exhibited his artwork at the second annual show of the Club in 1911, contributing three modern decorative designs in oil. Two watercolours in the 1920 exhibition illustrated his versatility, and the 1921 show catalogue listed him as “Instructor in design and interior decoration.” In 1922, he was commissioned to illustrate Alfred Carmichael’s book, “Indian Legends of Vancouver Island,” which described the customs and habits of west coast indigenous peoples (see illustration above).  

After his association with Maclure, Semeyn started his own practice and later partnered the English born architect Karl Spurgin before resuming his independence. He registered with the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, retiring as an architect in 1950. Over his career, he experimental with several different styles. One of his best-known creations was the Tweedsmuir Mansions Apartments overlooking Beacon Hill Park, containing Victoria’s first modern “penthouse,” and described in Segger and Franklin’s seminal work on local architecture as “a white stucco butterfly-plan building in the Moderne tradition.” (see illustration). 

In the late 1930s, Semeyn married Yvette Cross, sister of W.H. Cross, a businessman who had led the financing of the Uplands development prior to  World War II. The couple lived in the family home named “Valrose”, commissioned by Cross in 1915 and today recognized for its heritage value. Semeyn was to reside there until his tragic death in 1952 when, according to his death certificate, he was found drowned after a fall from a boat in Maple Bay.