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McGill, Jean S.

Toronto, Dundurn Press, c1984. 208pp, paper, ISBN 0-919670-79-2 (cloth) $19.95, 0-919670-78-4 (paper) $9.95. (Dundurn Lives) CIP

Grades 7 and up
Reviewed by Jack Brown

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

Edmund Morris was born in 1871 in Perth, Ontario. He spent several years in Manitoba but moved to Toronto where he completed high school and later studied art. After some years in New York and Paris, he returned to Canada. In 1906, he was commissioned to paint portraits of Indian chiefs and headmen in northern Ontario. This proved so successful that he was further commissioned to paint portraits and tipis in western Canada, mostly in Saskatchewan. Many of these now hang in government buildings and museums. The Royal Ontario Museum has his large collection of Indian artifacts and sixty of his paintings. Morris was drowned on a sketching trip in 1913.

It is fitting that Jean McGill, already well known for A Pioneer History of the County of Lanark (J.S. McGill, 1979) should write about this Lanark-born artist. Her research has been painstakingly thorough and her book flows along easily. To a large extent it is based on the Morris diaries, which she found very difficult to decipher but enlightening in detail. The book contains eight excellent colour illustrations and forty-six in black and white. There is a detailed chronology, comprehensive chapter notes, an extensive bibliography, and a useful index. The biography should help awaken public interest and give Morris his deserved place among Canadian artists.

Jack Brown, Kingston C.V.I., Kingston, Ont.
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