The Yorkville Town Hall, a polychromatic brick building which once faced Yonge Street a few blocks north of Bloor in Toronto, was designed by the Scottish architect William Hay in 1856. It is a key monument for the understanding of High Victorian architecture in Toronto and also an interesting example of the influence of advanced British taste on architectural practice in the colonies through the medium of influential emigrants from the United Kingdom. Designed as a multipurpose commercial complex as well as a civic centre for the then newly incorporated Yorkville, it was a distinctive landmark which identified the small and independent community. The most distinctive feature of this landmark was the use of polychromatic brickwork. Hay had come to Canada in 1846 as G. G. Scott's Clerk of Works for the Anglican Cathedral in St. John's, Newfoundland. He returned to the British Isles, and subsequently emigrated to Canada West. In designing the Yorkville Town Hall he was apparently influenced by the recent publication of G. E. Street's Brick and Marble in the Middle Ages, although he must also have been familiar with Butterfield's unfinished London Church, All Saints, Margaret Street. The Yorkville Town Hall was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1941 but the original drawings offer an opportunity to study an unusual and important design by a major architect of the time. The drawings reveal William Hay's adaptation of British architectural tastes to the Canadian situation and also show his influence on later Canadian architecture, particularly on the career of his apprentice Henry Langley who may have executed some of the drawings.
It is usually conceded that Jack Bush "emerged as a distinct artistic personality in the late 1950's" and that Bush's contact with the critic, Clement Greenberg, starting in June of 1957, was something of a turning point. Bush himself has described the impact of his first meeting with Greenberg as follows:
He said, "… what you're doing, Bush, is … just taking all the hot licks from the New York painters, which is so easy to do. Try painting simpler and thinner, as you have done in these watercolours. If it scares you—good—you'll know you are on to something that is your true self …" I tried it; I was scared, but I began to realize in six months that Clem was right—the paintings were better, and I didn't look back.
Sources and Documents
The writings of John Lyman first appeared in the Letters to the Editor column of The Canadian Forum in May of 1932. In the year which had just passed, Lyman returned from a lengthy stay in France. There, he had become a product of the life and attitudes of the School of Paris, an attachment which would never be replaced by ties with later movements within the avant garde. In the years which followed his return home, he would become increasingly influential in Quebec in la vie des arts.In the studies published by Canadian art historians, a certain amount has been written about Lyman's importance in the development and understanding of Canadian art. References have been made, not only to the letter in the Canadian Forum, but to his major body of writing about art in the Montrealer Magazine. Between 1932 and 1942 his work appeared fifty-two times and has never been fully documented in a bibliography.
Within the Canadian topographical landscape tradition, the artistic production of James Pattison Cockburn ranks with that of Thomas Davies (c. 1737–1812) and George Heriot (c. 1759–1839). Cockburn deserves a monograph and catalogue raisonné. However, lest the title build unrealistic expectations, the authors forewarn the reader that this is not their intent. Rather they state two purposes. First, the authors attempt to provide a broad summary of Cockburn's career and social position and to explore briefly the extent to which these factors may have influenced his perspective of Quebec society. Second, this book is to function as a historical guide to modern day Quebec and its environs through a systematic arrangement of Cockburn's views with explanatory texts.
John Langdon's latest book gives us a catalogue of Canadian clock and watchmakers from the French regime into the twentieth century. Readers of this Journal will know that the author has in the past contributed important work in the field of his special interest that of the making of hand-wrought silver by the craftsmen who worked in Canada from the late seventeenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century. He is the recognized authority in his field and to collectors and students alike his works are the bible on silver. Canadian Silversmiths and their Marks 1667–1867 was published in 1960, followed by a second volume Canadian Silversmiths 1700–1900 published in 1966. The second work contained additional information about the silversmiths, profuse illustrations, an index of silversmiths by cities and towns, lists of the silverworkers' initials and lists of designs of the maker's punchmarks or stamps. In 1968 Langdon brought out a small hard-covered book Guide to Marks on Early Canadian Silver of much use and comfort to collectors both for content and portability.