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John & Katharine Maltwood Collection

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John & Katharine

Notable B.C. Artists in the Collection - Barbara Woodward

Yet another aspect of Katharine Maltwood's appreciation of nature is reflected in her friendship with Barbara Woodward, a fellow world traveller and well-known wild-life artist. After her initial training at Doncaster Art School Barbara Woodward began exhibiting landscapes and animal studies at both English and French galleries. A desire to specialize in animal portraiture led her to study animal anatomy at London Zoo and she later became a Fellow of the Zoological Society in London.

Wishing to see wild nature ("the wilder the better," she said) Mrs. Woodward became an ardent traveller.93 On safaris through the steamy heat of central Africa's jungle she sketched all manner of wild-life. The cat tribe were a particular favourite; she found them "slinking noble beasts, smooth and sinuous."94 A tiger sketch in the Maltwood Collection reveals how she could swiftly capture the character of the beast. Barbara Woodward's exotic travels also drew her to the frozen reaches of Europe's Arctic wastelands. On trips to Iceland and Spitzbergen in Norway she painted arctic birds and bleak, icy landscapes. With the knowledge she gained from these travels she not only illustrated commercially but became a respected authority on wild-life, lecturing and writing on bird and animal behaviour.

After she and her husband settled at Royal Oak, Victoria, in 1935 she did little sketching, preferring to breed animals. When she resumed her career in commercial art, some ten years later, she received numerous commissions from the Provincial Museum and from both local and national firms. She painted the canvases of big game animals which decorated the Princess Patricia and the Princess Marguerite.95 A pencil sketch of a stag given to Katharine Maltwood at this time reveals Barbara Woodward's drawing skill and expert knowledge of anatomy. It was this aspect of her work that the former particularly respected. She disliked modern abstractions, always preferring artists "trained in the hard school which considered anatomy, drawing, construction, composition and technique as essential as art."96



All content on this page is copyright © 7 February, 2006
Rosemary Brown, the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, and the University of Victoria

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