Sarawak (Malaysia); Indonesia; or Borneo
Two creatures, possibly intended to represent snakes, extend the length of this ceremonial cloth. Other anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs, executed in red and black supplementary threads, cover the ivory ground. Among these are lizards, crocodiles, and possibly lobsters, crabs, and human figures. In some regions, the python is regarded as a sacred animal and a favourite symbol of metamorphosis for male ancestors when they wish to appear to the living. Lizards, as well as snakes, are associated with the afterlife in some regions. The ability of repitiles to change their skins provides a powerful analogy to the process of rebirth; this may be one of the reasons these motifs from the natural world are so often found on ceremonial fabrics from southeast Asia.
This fabric was acquired by Colin Henderson Smith and Gloria M. (neé Burroughs) Smith during their stay in Sarawak in the 1960s-70s.
Bibliography: Chin and Mashman, Sarawak: Cultural Legacy; Richter, Arts and Crafts of Indonesia; Všlger and Welck, Indonesian Textiles: Symposium 1985 ; Solyom, Bronwen and Garrett, Fabric Traditions of Indonesia; Maxwell, Textiles of Southeast Asia: Tradition, Trade and Transformation; Textiles of Indonesia; Holmgren and Spertus, Early Indonesia Textiles from Three Island Cultures; Warming and Gaworski, The World of Indonesian Textiles.
Canada, c. 1930
Emily Carr's landscape is in a simple painted wood frame. Although she is probably better known for her Totem paintings, Carr also painted a number of landscapes of the dense coastal forests of Vancouver Island. In this painting, she used oil thinned with gasoline, applied to manila paper. The landscape paintings were suggested to Carr by Lawren Harris, but she also looked to Walt Whitman, Georgia O'Keefe, and perhaps van Gogh for inspiration for her "Sky Paintings."
This painting was acquired by the Maltwoods in Victoria, probably from the artist.
Bibliography: Emily Carr Sky Paintings, Aug 4 to September 5, 1982 (catalog of exhibition at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (copy in document file); Shadboldt, The Art of Emily Carr; Hembroff-Schleicher, Emily Carr: The Untold Story; Tippett, Emily Carr: A Biography; Carr, Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr
Fish and Sky (Sea and Sky)
North America, 20th century
Number 55 of a limited edition of 200, this mixed media work combines a photograph of a grey sky and white clouds with a two dimensional picture of fish swimming among rocks and sea grass. The artist's signature is in the lower right corner. The University acquired this work in 1977.
Arts and Crafts
England, 19th century
This sample of a jacquard tapestry woven wool fabric shows another type of interpretation of the natural world. It is probably a design by William Morris or his company, based on the elegance, colour and quality of the weave. William Morris and his circle were influential in theory and political writings as well as in artistic and architectural design. Dante Gabriel Rosetti once remarked about the origin of the company: "One evening, a lot of us were together and we got talking about the way in which artists did all kinds of things in olden times, designed every kind of decoration, and most kinds of furniture, and someone suggested - as a joke more than anything else - that we could each put down five pounds and form a company. We had no idea whatever of commercial success, but it succeeded almost in our own despite." These included Peter Marshall, Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, Rosetti, Philip Webb, Charles Faulkner and William Morris. Works of the firm included all types of crafted items: stained glass, furniture, tableware, fabrics, tapestries, carpets, wall-papers, and illustrated books.
This sample is part of the Edmund N. Parker Collection. The fabrics and wall papers in this collection were discovered in a Victoria turn-of-the-century house in Montreal. They were donated to the University in 1964 and are held jointly by McPherson Library Special Collections and the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery. A stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones depicting Timothy and Eunice, 1878, is also held by the Maltwood Art Museum as part of the Edmund N. Parker Collection (U996.2.2).
Bibliography: Correspondence, condition reports, article clippings (in document file); The Earthly Paradise: Arts and Crafts by William Morris and His Circle From Canadian Collections (in Maltwood Library); Henderson, William Morris: His Life, Work and Friends; Leatham, William Morris, Master of Many Crafts; Vallance, William Morris: His Writings and His Public Life.
Arbutus Shedding Bark
William Percy Weston
William Percy Weston arrived in Vancouver from England in 1909. He was Art Master at the Provincial Normal School there until his retirement in 1946. Until his death in 1967, Weston continued to show his works regularly in the local annual exhibition of the British Columbia Society of Fine Arts; thus his art spanned an era of great change and turbulence.
"Arbutus Shedding Bark" is an example of the artist's expression of the rawness and wildness of the western Canadian coast.
This painting was purchased by John and Katharine Maltwood in 1949. It appeared in the Western Canada Art Circuit in the exhibit "B.C. Society of Fine Arts" in Vancouver in 1948, and was later exhibited in Silence and Solitude: the Art of W. P. Weston at the Richmond Art Gallery in 1993.
Bibliography: Richardson, Silence and Solitude: the Art of W. P. Weston (copy in document file); Warden (student paper on internet -http://kafka.uvic.ca/~whistory/GINGER/)