Canadian Women in the Arts

The Third Article of a Series

MADGE MacBETH October 1 1914

Canadian Women in the Arts

The Third Article of a Series

MADGE MacBETH October 1 1914

Canadian Women in the Arts

The Third Article of a Series


IT is with pardonable pride that we thrust our thumbs into our national waistcoat armholes and distend our national chest, when we cast our eyes over the list of names which deservedly come under this heading. In the field of literature and art, on the stage—concert operatic and dramatic—we have our representatives, many of them so internationally famous that they are claimed by the world at large, and it is forgotten to give Canada the credit for being the country of their birth.

We, also, have several prominent women who, though born elsewhere, have adopted Canada, and have been adopted by her ; and who shall say they are not Canadians?


Mary Evelyn Wrinch is one. She was born in England, but came to Canada some twenty-five years ago, settling in Toronto. She studied there and then went back to London to attend the Grosvenor Art School under Walter Donne. She also studied miniature painting and went for several months to the Continent to work.

Her love of everything beautiful in nature expresses itself on her canvases. She has a charming little home in the Lake of Bays and when not actually at her easel, she is paddling about the lake drinking in the natural wonders on every side. Suddenly, out will come materials; she will “make a few notes” of cloud effects, of purply shadows on the still, warm water, or of winking lights on the trees. Then she can hardly wait to get home, to work.

Her cottage, which she says was built around a perfectly adorable rough stone fire-place, is attractive to all sorts and conditions of creatures. One summer, she had her front steps literally chewed away by a ground hog, which could not absent itself from the vicinity, and

birds of all descriptions seem to consider the place their very own. Miss Wrinch was elected a member of the O.S.A. in 1901 and possibly the best known of her works hanging in the National Art Gallery is the “Mill Race,” bought by the Adisory Arts Council in 1909.

Mary Heister Reid is another artist who had adopted Canada. Her flower studies are well known and Chrysanthemums, presented bythe R.C.A. to the Gallery, is ope, óf her most delightful pieces of wo^k. ' Mrs. Reid has the distinction of adding A.R.C.A. to her name, being elected to that body in ’96. She was born in Pennsylvania but came to Canada in 1886 and made her home for some years in Wingham, Ont.

Laura Muntz is also an A.R.C.A., and was born in our Mother Country, but she came to Canada when a very small child, and is as surely ours as though she had been born in Montreal. Her work was awarded honorable mention in the Paris

Salon of 1895, won the silver medal at the Pan-American Exposition, and a bronze medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition held at St. Louis.


Mrs. Elizabeth McGillivray Knowles, A.R.C.A., has been spoken of as an interpreter of trees, and one whose work proves that trees have spirits. Like Mrs. Reid, she has the joy of working with a talented husband, a critic and adviser. Both she and her husband are particularly sympathetic to budding artists, and always ready to hold out a helping or a guiding hand. Mrs. Knowles was born in Ottawa, and has made many beautiful miniatures.


Anyone who has visited the Gallery in Ottawa will remember the large canvas entitled “Gray and Gold,” by Florence Carlyle.

The story of her climb into an enviable position in the artistic world should inspire any who may be prone to lay down their tools and grow discouraged. To begin at the beginning, she was born in Galt, her father, a nephew of Thomas Carlyle, inheriting much of the cleverness and the abstraction of that erratic genius. He was a public school teacher and moved to Woodstock, where the young artist grew up. But there was a large family, and school-teaching is not conducive to luxurious living. Most of what surplus there was went toward the education of the boys, old Dr. Carlyle considering that girls could acquire what was necessary in the practical performance of domestic duties. But so determined was Florence to study art, that she gave painting lessons, when as she, herself, confesses, she did not know the first thing about it! This is rather an exaggeration, for she al-

EDITOR’S NOTE.—This is the third article of a series on prominent women of Canada. It deals with certain fair daughters of the Dominion who have made shining marks in art, music or letters, telling how they achieved their successes and giving chatty anecdotes about them. Succeeding articles will go into other fields and tell of Canadian women who are making a success in the business and professional world.

ways knew something about it. The main thing is, however, that she saved up enough money to take her to Paris, and by dint of rigid economy she stayed there four years. She came back to Canada, aft e r exhibiting in the Paris Salon several times, and opened a studio first in London,

Ont., then Toronto and then New York, doing portraits mostly. She had an amusing experience in the latter place when two men came to her studio one day to give an order for work, and thought her another artist entirely. But she got the work. About that time, a wellknown picture dealer, who felt as though he had “discovered her, offered her a “one man exhibition” in his gallery. He wanted about forty canvases, and she could not meet the demand, having sold most of what she had on hand.

Lean years followed; it looked almost as though a fine career would be nipped in the bud. Miss Carlyle was called home to Woodstock owing to illness of a member of her family, and there she lived for a long time, working against the most crushing odds. Her studio was a corner of the barn, lighted by two windows which let in rain as well as sun. Chickens used to walk about the floor, and in winter a small stove alternately scorched itself into a livid red, or went dead black. The cook had an irritating way of interrupting a delicate bit of work by announcing that there were no potatoes for dinner or that she couldn’t wash without soap.

Finally, poor health made a rest imperative; she dropped everything in a measure, and went to England. There she discovered a picturesque little cottage and picked up lost strength. She never sits to work; says it is impossible for her. She stands hours at a canvas if the mood is upon her; but she does not wait for a mood, to get to work. A certain amount is done every day, even though it has to be a painted out on the morrow. The picture which won the Osborne prize, was done in a day! For weeks Florence Carlyle had tried to coax an inspiration for the work; nothing came—nothing of worth. Finally, on the very last day, she accomplished what another would have required a week to do. The critics were unanimous in awarding the prize; there was only a little discussion as to whether or not it should be given outside the States.

DEPICTER OF CHILDREN If children ever looked at the signatures which decorate the corners of the pictures they study with such delight, they would be familiar with the name of Estelle M. Kerr. Perhaps they are; personally, I was satisfied with the picture of the princess with golden curls, when I was a child. The illustrator was as separate from it, as I was from the prin-

Miss Kerr insists that she has had an unpicturesque career. There’s a bad pun and a fib to begin with! She has made pictures (and puns, too, for all I know) ever since she was a youngster. She first turned her attention to M''» il-

lustrating of children’s books while studying art in New York. But, as is almost invariably the case, she did not meet with rousing receptions from art editors. She says that many a day, portfolio of drawings under arm, she has tramped down tc-vn to submit her work, only to fall into a blue funk on the ''^itorial doorstep and turn back! A* last, one fine, lucky morning, she got an order to illustrate a story for a c h i 1dren’s syndicate. The drawing appeared simultaneously in several American newspapers, and for it the illustrator received the truly staggering sum of two dollars! Heigho, for the road to fame and wealth!

On the strength of this affluence, Miss Kerr went to Paris, and stayed two years but, by her own very frank admission, she did not find the atmosphere conducive to commercial art; Paris has lots of other sides than the much-idealized Latin Quarter. So she devoted herself largely to life-drawing and painting. It was some time after her return to Toronto that she seriously took up illustrating as a profession. One of the most appreciated of her works is “A Child’s Garden of Stories,” both written and illustrated by herself. She has contributed constantly to the St. Nicholas, and, in fact, all the leading periodicals which use children’s material. I remember meeting her at a tea once, at which our hostess introduced her as “the lady what writes and explains what she writes, both at one and the same time, together!” Of course, everybody laughed, but I was vastly impressed.

Miss Kerr is best in her drawings of child life and she handles her pen and crayon best; she has a good feeling for design and has done a great number of individual book plates. Also many posters and magazine covers, but she leans toward painting, I fancy, and will devote more and more of her time to that fascinating work. If she gives up illustrating entirely, there will be a collection of much aggrieved children, however.


No name is better known nor more beloved than that of Margaret Anglin, a study of whom appeared in this magazine recently. Therefore, mere passing mention is now made of our favorite Canadian actress. She has lately bought a summer home on Blue Sea Lake, Quebec, and she has concluded arrangements with the University of California, where-

by she will present Greek classics at the Greek Theatre during the Panama-Pacific Exposition.


A Canadian wh im we do not get an oportunity of seeing as often as we should is Lucile Watson. Fortunately for her, and the reverse for us, she plays a long run in one of the leading American cities, and does very little touring. Lucile Watson was born in Ottawa, and was left motherless at quite an early age. Her mother, having met with financial reverses, went on the stage and was a member of Rose Coghlan’s company at the time of her death. She was heavily insured and left what should have been a tidy little sum for her small daughter. But a poor speculation melted it away in a few hours. Lucile Watson need not have turned a hand for the purpose of her own support. Warmhearted and generous to a fault, herself, she had friends who were only too anxious to prove their friendship and take her into their homes. But she refused. She took what little money she had and went to New York, to a dramatic school, convinced that diligent application would achieve success for her in the long run. She did work hard; and her success was not so very long delayed. Clyde Fitch, always on the lookout for new talent, discovered her, and gave her a part in his play called “The Girl with the Green Eyes.” From then until the time of his death, she never lacked an engagement. Once he wrote her, when she was taking a holiday in Ottawa: “I have a new play, and in it there is a part for you. It is not a catty part, this time, either.”

The budding actress used to rebel at times at always taking “catty” parts that was her own word for them and rather a strong word, for they were, more correctly, character parts of an indifferently pleasing nature; and it was a tribute to her histrionic ability that she was able to play them, for nothing more foreign to her own disposition could possibly be imagined.

Speaking briefly of Lucile Watson’s work, she possesses that rare quality so necessary for making a leading lady “lead.” A well-known producer once remarked that it was harder to get second ladies than it was to get stars, or words to that effect. Her part is played with such delicate precision that no effect of another’s is marred or shadowed. Try throwing some one else into first place, consistently and artistically, and you will learn how hard it is.

Personally, the actress under discussion is a lovable, grown-up child, with a child’s unflagging enthusiasm, wholesouled affection and tireless energy. Everything is “a party” to Lucile Watson, and she flies about the city or the country with such vigor as to almost sap her less energetic friends. She “blows” into a room, into rehearsals or elsewhere. Gone from your presence, you wonder what causes the drabness, the flatness.

She tells of a wild experience she had last spring when she left New York to spend the week-end with her husband, Rockliffe Fellows (also of Ottawa), in Atlantic City. She was caught in a

paralyzing blizzard in Philadelphia on her return, and found that she could not make the performance on Monday night. And things looked black for Tuesday, too. However, after holding the curtain, she did appear on the second day much to everybody’s relief. She had no understudy, and when it was learned that she could not get back for Monday night, the leading lady’s understudy had to take her part and play it. It was given her at five o’clock on Monday afternoon !

Excitement being stimulating to some natures, Miss Watson went on another week-end trip later in the season. She paid her visit in a country place, and arrived at the station on Monday afternoon, only to learn that the train which

should have left Boston at four o’clock, was two hours late, and would not get to town in time for the performance. Of course this, following so close upon the heels of the other disaster, dismayed her until the original idea of hiring a racing machine struck her. No sooner said than done. Picture the reposed actress, trailing on the stage with clinging draperies and dawdling through her lines—picture her tearing along a country road, which rolled out behind her like white tape from a machine, flying hair, smarting eyes, gasping for breath. Ninety-two miles, she did, at a clip of sixty per, with a perfectly strange man, who grit his teeth, crouched at the wheel and—drove! I neglected to say that the machine had no windshield and it was cold, even in the darly summer, so that the actress had a croak in her voice for several days. In the first instance, she was harshly fined an eighth of her salary, and in the second, when she did get to the theatre in time, the owner of the machine charged her twenty-five dollars for the drive.

At present Miss Watson is playing in the great success, Under Cover. She opened in New York in August, after playing a long run in Boston; her husband, Rockliffe Fellows, leads the special company putting on the same play again in Boston, and H. B. Warner, of Jimmy Valentine" and “Ghost Breaker" fame, is taking it to Chicago.


Before leaving the footlights, we must mention Madame Irene Pawloska, the soprano who won her way to fame with the Montreal Grand Opera Company. Her career is remarkable in more ways than one. She had always wanted to sing, ever since she could remember, but her mother, an exceptionally fine musician, would not let the child use her voice, for fear of spoiling it. When she was eleven years old, she was taken to Albani, who predicted a glowing future for her. Three seasons ago, she was engaged to sing with the above named opera company, without having had any study for the voice, at all!

Two years later, Madame Pawloska went to Paris and studied with Maitre E. Duvernoy, and Signor Baldelli, “the latter,” as she says, “a truly great master.” While in Paris, Henry Savage heard her sing and engaged her for the leading part

The fortunate young prima dona pronounces this “Shari”; it is the last of Kalman’s Viennese operettas, and was produced last year, for a short time in English, on this side. Madame Pawloska thinks that “comic opera” is not a suitable description of it; it is grand opera in lighter form.


To Sir Wilfrid and Lady Laurier the musical world can give its thanks for these celebrities.

Madame Eva Gauthier was married about two years ago to Herr Franz Knoote, of The Hague, but she is continuing her enviable career. She is a native of Ottawa, eldest daughter of M. and Madame Louis Gauthier, and from

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the former inherited much of her genius. She began her studies at home, and early attracted the attention of the then Premier and his wife, both of whom are always on the lookout for young musicians. They immediately interested themselves in her, and, through their instrumentality, Eva Gauthier was presented to Lord Strathcona, who, recognizing the possibilities in her voice, offered to bear all the expense of her musical education. What an opportunity !

She studied three years in Paris, and then another opportunity came a-knocking at her door. Madame Albani offered to take her as assistant on one of her concert tours. Under these brilliant auspices, Eva Gauthier toured England, Scotland, the United States and Canada.

Three years of study in Italy followed, then she made her debut in Carmen as Micaela. The musical critics said: '‘She does not ask, but forces your attention.” Shortly after her debut, Miss Gauthier

conceived the ambitious desire to tour the world. It was certainly a justifiable one. She went to Java, Sumatra, the East Indian Islands, British India, China and Australia. Previous to this, however, she toured Italy, France, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. The Queen of this latter country was so impresesd with Madame Gauthier’s voice that she conferred a decoration upon her. While in Java, the prima donna had the honor of visiting His Excellency, the Viceroy, and his family.

Many, many times, while on that Eastern tour, Madame was obliged to prolong her stay in order to give a second concert. Her fame spread to such an extent that halls were not large enough to hold the crowds and a second performance had to be arranged.

Miss Juliette Gauthier is a sister of Madame Franz Knoote, and not a whit

less talented. “She is just bubbling over with music,” said a friend, recently. “Fancy, she began her career as a violinist, and was making a splendid repu-

tation for herself, when it was discovered that her voice was too precious a gift to be left untouched, s o she gave up the violin and took .o singing!” She was also a protege of Lord Strathcona, going to Italy to study. Her debut made a great sensation in Florence, when she sang at the opening and dedication of the American Church there. Her engagement to a titled Italian has been recently announced, but the marriage has been postponed, because of Italy’s requir-

ing him in his military capacity. We cannot think of the violin without the name of Mary Kathleen Parlow. Most Canadians have been fortunate enough to have heard her, on one of her several tours. Born

i n Calgary, she early moved to California, and, when still only a child, was taken to Russia. Since 1908, when she was but eighteen years old, her success has been assured.

She has played before many crowned heads, and is unaffectedly delighted to give pleasure with her music. She is perhaps least like a professional person of any one we could m e ntion. Slight, graceful, responsive i n a tremendous degree to appreciation, she is more like a lovable, healthy girl, o f ordinary

acquaintance, than a Celebrity with a capital C. THE EARLY SUCCESS OF L. M. MONTGOMERY. L. M. Montgomery made an exception-

ally fortunate debut into the world of letters. She did not write a guide book or a history of the early pioneers—either of which might run a chance of acceptance—she wrote the hardest thing to sell, a plain story— “Anne of Green Gables.” The usual procedure in the matter of publication was reversed ; Canada took what belonged to her first, and the world took it afterward. I have heard many people discuss Mrs. Ewan Macdonald’s books. People who would seem to know her,

her daily habits and all the characters about whom she writes. I have heard them describe the originals. Here is what she says on the subject: “Absolutely NONE of the people in my

books are ‘ real characters.’ The only possible exception i s that of Peg Bowen in The Story Girl, who was suggested to me by a crazy old woman who roamed about the country in my childhood ; and even she was very little like Peg Bowen. All my other cha racters, minor or major, are pure1 y imaginary.” Mrs. M. M a c d onald lived in Cavendish, P.E. L, before her marriage and is still “Lucy Maud” to the proud inhabitants of the little Island. They feel, as a whole, that

they have a provincial, proprietary right —almost a family interest in those of their number who are distinguishing themselves in the world of the arts, so they tenaciously cling to “Lucy Maud” (probably with “our” before it) instead of adopting the formal Mrs. Ewan Macdonald, of Leaksdale, Ont.

The authoress comes of an exceptionally clever family, her three uncles, the Rev. L. G. Macneil, Mr. Chester Macneil, and Professor Macneil going a long way to prove this. She has written since she was a small child, stories in which her cats appeared as heroes and heroines, “and whatever else they lacked, they did not lack imagination.” She not only wrote but published, at an early age ; verses and stories in the local press, many of which attracted favorable comment outside the Island and gave rise to prophecies about Miss Montgomery which have since, been amply fulfilled. She is a prodigious worker, as the number of her publications show; scarcely a month passes without bringing to light at least one story from her pen.


And we have another Best Seller — “Sowing Seeds in Danny.” Oh, the laughs and weeps between those two cov-

Mrs. Nellie McClung—er—goodness, where to begin? She went West when six years of age, and, in her own words, “narrowly escaped a princely fortune by not investing in real estate, in the city of Winnipeg. Said princely fortune has successfully escaped up to present date.” She taught school for five years and then got married. Between rearing and educating five fine young McClungs, she wrote, and latterly (although that is not just the way to put it) she has “gone in” for politics. Working on a temperance platform, she recently stumped the whole of Manitoba against the Roblin Government, holding several enormous meetings, the novel part of which was, that people paid fifty cents to hear her speak! She says: “I went into politics quite without apologies to any one, neither did I go from choice. There comes a time when one cannot do otherwise without loss of self-respect. . . . and I am there to

stay, until we get political recognition. .

. . . God intended men and women to work together in the best of good fellowship and harmony. ... we receive sympathy to burn about woman suffrage. That is what we do with most of it! Good words, kind talk. . . . and every once in a while we burn it all up.”

Intensely earnest and sincere is her espousal of universal temperance; her meetings were largely arranged by the W.C.T.U. She absolutely refused funds from the Liberal party for her campaign.

A writer says of her: “Few of the daughters of Eve have been so endowed by Nature with every gift of mind and body as this idol and darling of the West. Famous as an author, renowned as a public speaker, esteemed as a wife and

mother, and admired as a beautiful graceful and gracious woman, all this much more is Mrs. Nellie McClung-

woman in Canadian politics.”


Nor does that exhaust the sup Prominent above all others in a pui journalistic way—although she has w ten some novels—is Agnes C. Laut. A rican magazines and weeklies are o too glad to get a scrap signed with name, and the scrap they send in retí fully testifies to their appreciation ! M Laut was born in Ontario, but like M McClung, she went West when v> young, was educated at the Maniü University, and went into literature w a bound. She was editorial writer the Manitoba Free Press, and later v correspondent for several American a English publications. She was also the staff of the Outing Magazine. Of 1 travels in the West when roughing u roughing it, she can tell better than Her history of the North reads like fascinating fairy tale, interspersed w icy blasts and blinding blizzards. Th she veered to the far south and did spk did work in New Mexico, or thereabou What she does not know about the P ture Rocks is not worth knowing. A what she does not know about Canadi shipping and elevator capacity and ii migration and exports! She has a he which holds figures as easily as an c dinary pincushion holds pins.

A very intolerant man went to he. her lecture some months ago; he w dragged there, otherwise he would n have gone to hear a woman speak. Th was the kind of man he was. “But,” ] said, “you should have seen her ! A litt fair, frail-looking thing, with a delivei any man might envy, and a grip on h« audience which was astounding. I sa several of my friends who had gone und« protest and who at the beginning of tt lecture lolled back in their seats aí looked bored. It wasn’t long, howeve before they were sitting bolt upright ar then leaning forward, so as to catch evei word. It was a surprise to me, I mu: say. Her head was stocked with all tt information you would want, and figur« and statistics tripped off her tongue i smoothly as ABC’s.”

Mrs. McClung says: “Agnes Lai

taught school in Winnipeg about twent; four years ago. Although she has bee away from us a long time, she has neve lost our love and admiration.”

This is the third of a series of articles well-known Canadian women. It gives partial list only, and others of equal pron inence will be treated in an article to appei In an early Issue. An unfortunate mistal occurred in the last number, a likeness « Mrs. Cotton being referred to as a pictu: of Mrs. Blake.