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John & Katharine Maltwood Collection

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John & Katharine

Notable B.C. Artists in the Collection - Hildegarde Wyllie

Katharine Maltwood's friendship with Hildegarde Wyllie, as with Ina Uhthoff, was one of mutual admiration. Hildegarde Wyllie came from a social background similar to her own. She was born in London into a great family of painters and her artistic outlook was largely formed by her upbringing on the Richmond estate. Her grandfather was Sir William Richmond, R. A., and her great-grandfather George Richmond, R. A., was a well known portrait-painter who formed a group with Samuel Palmer, Edward Calvert and other William Blake devotees.88 She was thus absorbed in art from an early age and as a child received a gift of two watercolours from John Ruskin, the great apostle of Arts and Crafts Movement.89

When Mrs. Wyllie settled in Vancouver and later Victoria she became very active in art circles both as a painter and in the fight to establish a city art gallery. In 1951 she served a term as president of the Arts Centre of Greater Victoria and later worked as organizing secretary. Like Katharine Maltwood, she was particularly drawn to Oriental art as a great school of poetic interpretation. Her home in Saanich was called "Omeishan" meaning "Sacred Mountain", and its character was enhanced by fine old paintings and art treasures.

Hildegarde Wyllie was one of a number of Katharine Maltwood's local friends who was interested in the Glastonbury Zodiac. On visiting Glastonbury in 1950 she thoroughly explored the effigies and wrote: "We are now situated at the point where Hercules' foot touches the ram's head."90 She also painted an oil sketch of the mysterious Glastonbury Tor which, towering six hundred feet out of the marshes, was identified with the celebrated Island of Avalon and the Phoenix of the Zodiac. The work, now among the Maltwood paintings, is traditional in style like the majority of Hildegarde Wyllie's landscapes.



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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