Fred Ross

Fred Ross was born in Saint John, NB, on 12 May 1927. His contributions to New Brunswick’s art community spanned more than sixty-five years and he was one of the province’s most recognized and influential painters. Some of his formative art training took place under Violet Amy Gillett (1898-1996) and Ted Campbell (1904-1985) at the Saint John Vocational School in the mid-1940s. After completing two major mural projects, Ross was able to travel to Mexico to view the work of other muralists. Unable to obtain significant commissions for large-scale works, he turned to the work of Renaissance masters for inspiration and in 1953 travelled to Italy to study their work. Upon his return he taught in the art department of Saint John Vocational school until 1970 when he retired to paint full time. Throughout his career, Ross’ working method included an extensive review of the continuum of artistic developments as source material for his own work. To that end he developed and maintained an extensive research and comparative library of reference material.  Fred Ross died in Saint John on 19 August 2014.

A67-140 - Fred Ross - Boy with White Helmet
Boy with White Helmet, 1965
tempera and ink on Masonite
106 x 75 cm
Gift of Reeves & Sons Limited, 1967 (A67.140)

A significant component of Ross’ figurative work in the 1960s and 1970s explored the relationship among artist, subject and viewer and his work showed an affinity with Balthus [Balthasar Klossowski] (1908-2001) a French-born painter of Polish descent who worked primarily in Switzerland and who was one of the most important figurative painters of the twentieth century. In Ross’ 1965 painting, Boy with White Helmet, a handsome and confident motorcyclist in a black leather jacket evokes all the swagger associated with the coming of age of the post-WWII generation.

1995-21(3) - Fred Ross - Still Life with Pointe Shoes
Still Life with Pointe Shoes
, 1989
acrylic, casein tempera and pastel on board
102 x 71 cm
Gift of Vivian Campbell, 1995 (1995.21)

In the 1980s, Ross concentrated his efforts on the still-life making use of objects to symbolize the figure. Bathed in a soft and clear light, Fred Ross’ painting, Still Life with Pointe Shoes, is filled with allusions. There is a complex language superimposed on the obvious representation of objects in this image. These items can be interpreted as representations of masculinity and femininity or they may even refer to particular individuals. Ross’s fascination with the exotic patterning of the rug is contrasted with the three-dimensional volume and coldness of the decanter and the soft smoothness of the pointe shoes. With a minimum of colour, tone and form, Ross has conjured a masterful work that is filled with charm, mystery and timelessness.

Exploring BiotaNB 2016 – Common Species

While Aaron Fairweather was searching for an as-of-yet undescribed species of ant, two other members of the day’s Mount Sagamook expedition, Dr. Stephen Clayden and summer student Victor Szymanski, were compiling a collection of all the plant species in a defined area near the summit.

Unlike their ant-collecting colleague, Stephen and Victor were collecting common, or well-known, species such as shrubs, small trees, even blueberries, among other plants. It’s what Stephen calls a “representative collection of things.”

DSCF1154
Victor Szymanski collects a birch specimen.

Although the species they were collecting are relatively well-known, it fits well with the Biota mandate of building up a collection that documents the diversity of flora and fauna in a particular region. And in this particular area on Mount Sagamook, the species are very diverse. Stephen is able to quickly point out that there could be as many as 25-30 species of lichens on the rocks immediately in front of him.

DSCF1152
Stephen Clayden points out the many lichen species (25-30)
located in the area immediately surrounding him.

There can also be new knowledge gained from common species. This new knowledge can be gained by comparing populations with those from other areas. Modern techniques with DNA can also yield new insights. Just because they are common species does not mean that they don’t still have secrets to reveal.

Once specimens are collected, they are placed in a plant press and brought back to the lab where they will dry out and be used for further study.

DSCF1156
Victor places a specimen in the plant press, to be brought
back to the lab and dried for further study.

Recently Conserved Paintings from the New Brunswick Museum Collection

A regular part of the care of a collection is the effort to ensure its preservation. Another facet of a museum’s goal is to share the collection with the public through exhibition. Sometimes objects are unable to be displayed because their condition compromises the artist’s intent or exposing them may actually cause more damage. Over the past thirty years the New Brunswick Museum was engaged in an ongoing fine art conservation project in conjunction with the Provincial Fine Art Conservation Laboratory located at the Owens Art Gallery in Sackville, New Brunswick. The works listed below have received recent conservation treatment by now-retired Fine Art Conservator of New Brunswick, Adam Karpowicz.

Most venerable museums have artifacts in their care that require some attention. Sometimes significant objects that merit preservation are acquired even though they may not be in prime display condition. Oftentimes the material used by artists, either the varnish or glazes, can deteriorate or change over time. Sometimes the methods used to frame a work may compromise the structure and appearance. Occasionally an item might sustain some accidental damage. Whatever the reason, in order to ensure the long term preservation of the work, an intervention is necessary.

These photos show the paintings before and after Adam Karpowicz applied conservation techniques. His work breathes new life into these paintings, ensuring that the artist’s intention is once again visible.

1b1a
Kenneth Keith Forbes (Canadian, 1892 – 1980)
The Right Honourable Richard Bedford Bennett, Prime Minister of Canada (1930-1935), 1938
oil on canvas
Bequest of the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett, 1948 (1948.5)

2b2a
Attributed to Thomas Hanford Wentworth (American, 1781 – 1849)
Portrait of an Unidentified Man
(Possibly Charles Humphrey), c. 1835
oil on canvas
New Brunswick Museum Collection (X16481)

3a3b
John Christopher Miles (Canadian, 1832 – 1911)
Woodland Fishing Scene with Boy, c. 1880
oil on canvas
Gift of Kenneth Allison Wilson, 1954 (1954.165)

4b

4a
John Thomas Stanton (Canadian, c. 1815 – 1866)
after Richard Wilson (British, 1713 – 1782)
The Ruined Temple, 1856
oil on millboard
Purchase, 2004 (2004.13)

5b

5a
Artist Unknown (American School)
Bark Mary Rideout of St. Andrews, N.B., 1868
reverse-painted oil on glass
Purchase, 2010 (2010.36)

6b6a
Michael Anderson (Scottish or Canadian, 1824 – 1853)
Aaron and Hur Staying Up the Hands of Moses during the Battle with the Amalekites at Rephidim, 1850
oil on canvas
Purchase, 1958 (A58.30)

7b

7a
John Christian Schetky (Scottish, 1778-1874)
Battle of the Chesapeake and the Shannon, c. 1815
oil on canvas
John Clarence Webster Canadiana Collection (W1609)

8b8a
Albert Gallatin Hoit (American, 1809 – 1856)
Mary Ann (Maria) Street Berton Beckwith, 1837
oil on canvas
Gift of the Estate of Sir John Douglas Hazen, 1959 (1959.57)

9b9a
Albert Gallatin Hoit (American, 1809 – 1856)
John Adolphus Beckwith, 1837
oil on canvas
Gift of the Estate of Sir John Douglas Hazen, 1959 (1959.56)

10b

10a
Marion Elizabeth Jack (Canadian, 1866 – 1954)
Apple Trees at Burton, New Brunswick, 1922-1930
oil on canvasboard
Gift of Catherine Coombes, 2008 (2008.27.1)

The New Brunswick Museum workshop series Natural Dyes with Denise Richard

On Sunday, 29 May from 1-5pm join the New Brunswick Museum for a one day Natural Dyes workshop with New Brunswick Artist, Denise Richard.

In this Natural Dye workshop, participants will explore a variety of dyes including plants, roots, wood and insect dyes. By the end of the workshop, they will have learned to record their methods, have a multitude of samples, and learn simple Shibori techniques to create a unique natural dye silk scarf. There will also be a short presentation by Peter Larocque, NBM Curator, looking at some fantastic pieces from the collection that use natural dye techniques.

The NBM spoke with Denise about herself and her art practice. Keep reading to learn more about her career and what participants can look forward to in the workshop!

1

Denise Richard has a Diploma in Art, Craft and Design from the Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College in British Columbia. She is a multi-disciplinary craftsperson and designer, the focus of her studio work being the use of natural dyes and the exploration of felt in both sculptural and functional forms. She has shown her work in solo exhibitions and group shows in Canada and Europe. Denise has been an instructor since 2005 and is currently teaching in both the Foundation Visual Arts and Fibre Arts studios at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD).

NBM: Tell me a little bit about your practice. What materials do you use and where do you draw your inspiration from?
DR: My practice has evolved over the years, but I am definitely technique oriented. I continually learn techniques that inform my new work. For example I learned to felt and explored this medium as much as possible for a variety of products. I make everything from boiled wool rugs, furniture and garments, to Jim Hanson inspired puppets and felted mask for stage. What interests me is to defy design obsolescence. I want to design functional items, made from quality natural materials that will last a very long time. I dye most of my own fibres and textiles and create my own yardage for various projects. I work mainly with wool, silk, horse hair, linen and leather.

2
Fille de Mer, Denise Richard

NBM: If you weren’t an artist and a teacher, what do you think you would be doing?
DR:
If I weren’t a designer and teacher, I would be a puppeteer.

3
Headpieces, Denise Richard

NBM: We understand you have an interest in theatre and have done costume design for several productions. In what ways does theatre inform your artwork and vise versa?
DR: What attracts me to theatre is working collaboratively with the Artistic Director and creating a new world which convinces the audience that they are somehow a fly on the wall, witnessing someone else’s story. I love to watch my work come to life on stage and watch the audience react to the work.

4
Mouse King, Denise Richard

NBM: Do you have any hidden talents that not very many people would know about you?
DR: My hidden talent?  I am quite fearless when it comes to my work and I am not afraid to take risks.

5
Mask, Denise Richard

NBM: Are there any artists or craftspeople that you look to for inspiration (living or dead)?
DR: I admire a great many designers and artists but at the moment, the two that I look to for inspiration are Philippe Starck and Alexander McQueen. Alexander McQueen was above all an amazing craftsmen. I have yet to see anyone manipulate fabric like him. As for Starck, he is a bold designer who works in a variety of mediums and he is very innovative with materials.

Lamp by Phillipe Starck and gown by Alexander McQueen.

67
Photo credit: www.phillipstarck.com, http://www.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen

NBM: What can workshop participants look forward to learning on 29th May?
DR: In the Natural Dye workshop, students will explore a variety of dyes including plants, roots, wood and insect dyes. By the end of the day, they will have learned to fill in data sheets for recording their methods, they will have a multitude of samples and they will learn simple Shibori techniques to create a unique natural dye silk scarf.

 89

1011

The NBM hopes to see you at Denise’s workshop on Sunday, 29 May from 1-5pm!

The registration fee is $99 for NBM members and $110 for non-members.

Registration is required to hold the seat.

To register call 643 – 2349/1-888-268-9595.

Unlocking Mysteries at the New Brunswick Museum: An 18th-century United Empire Loyalist glass plate

PA2015-31(3)

PA2015-31(1)

Maker Unknown (Bohemian School) [possibly the Harrach Factory, Neuwelt, Czech Republic)
Plate, bowl or undertray, before 1789
blown, cut and engraved colourless glass
overall: 3 × 23.5 × 23.5 cm
Gift of Angela Huntjens and Dr. Johannes Huntjens, 2015 (2015.49)
New Brunswick Museum Collection

It is extremely rare for 18th century glass objects to have survived in New Brunswick. It is even more extraordinary for a table service piece, other than a drinking vessel, to have survived with its provenance intact.  A plate from the Colonel Richard Hewlett family donated to the New Brunswick Museum in December 2015 by Angela Huntjens and Dr. Johannes Huntjens is a major addition to the NBM’s collection of Loyalist-era glassware used in the province.

This plate, bowl or undertray is most likely of Bohemian origin. A commentary on this object provided by Ian Simmonds of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, who specializes in the history and interpretation of early American glass, suggested that the piece may be attributable to the Harrach Factory in Neuwelt, Czech Republic. His review indicated that an existing pattern book from the factory shows similar approaches to shape, form and design.

The original owner, Colonel Richard Hewlett, fought in the American Revolutionary War as a Loyalist and settled his family in the Parish of Hampstead (present day Queenstown) after the conflict.  This piece remained in the Hewlett family until about 1906 when it was presented by two descendants as a wedding gift to the local Anglican rector and his wife.

The NBM currently houses half a dozen drinking glasses from the late 18th century and one decanter box containing glasses and bottles – all of which appear to have United Empire Loyalist provenance.  This tray certainly expands the representation of late 18th century luxury wares cherished by those immigrants who came to the province in the years after the American Revolutionary War.

This item also has potential for additional research relating to trading patterns between central Europe and North America in the 18th century.  It is also an excellent comparative example for understanding a variety of glass decorating processes and techniques.

Provenance: Colonel Richard Hewlett (1729-1789) and his wife, Mary Townsend (1734-1819); to their son, Joseph Hewlett (1772-1821) and his wife, Clarissa Winslow (1770-1861); to their son, Captain Thomas Townsend Hewlett (1793-1878) and his wife, Ann Horsfield Sloan (1795-1870); to their daughters, Mary E. Hewlett (1827-1916) and Eliza Winslow Hewlett (1834-1912) until about 1906; a wedding gift to Reverend Canon Mansel Shewen (1876-1951) and his wife , Edith Olivia Bishop; given to Ada Ruth Flemming Thompson (born 1906); to her daughter, Angela Thompson Huntjens and her husband, Dr. Johannes Huntjens.

 

 

Unlocking Mysteries at the New Brunswick Museum: The Mystery of the Dentist’s Bag

Within the New Brunswick Museum’s collections is a dentist bag found in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The dentist’s bag came into the Nanaimo Community Hospice Shoppe in British Columbia. Inside was a copy of a wedding announcement from parents Dr. and Mrs. John T. Hazelwood of their daughter Effie Lucretia Hazelwood’s marriage to John Allen Clowes in October, 1913 in Saint John West, New Brunswick. The New Brunswick Museum was subsequently notified of this by shop manager Daphne Catteson.

Dentist's bag for blog

 

dentist’s bag, c. 1890
leather with metal
overall: 36 x 44 x 21 cm
Gift of the Nanaimo Community Hospice Society, 2015
NBM 2015.20

 

 

How did this dentist’s bag from New Brunswick end up in a shop in British Columbia?

Research by the NBM revealed that John T. Hazelwood was first listed as a dentist in the 1891-92 Saint John City Directory and that previous to this he had been a druggist in the city from 1881 to 1890. According to the New Brunswick Dental Association, John T. Hazelwood was licensed by an Order by the Governor in Council in 1893 but his practice was restricted to certain procedures. His pharmaceutical work may have assisted his entry into the profession. While there was an Ontario Dental Association from 1867 and The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario the next year, the Canadian Dental Association was only founded in 1902. Hazelwood obviously practiced without a degree and learned on the job within his restricted duties. He did not advertise himself as a doctor in the Saint John City Directory. This is an important reminder of a developing profession.

It was further discovered that Effie Hazelwood and John Clowes subsequently moved to British Columbia and the bag must have travelled with them. Dr. John Hazelwood is listed as a dentist in 1915 but not 1919; he passed away in 1926. The move of the bag to British Columbia would likely postdate his death and perhaps that of his wife Annie Garrison Rouse (d. 1943). John Clowes died in Comox, B.C. in 1945 and Effie Hazelwood in New Westminster in 1969. It’s likely the bag descended to Effie and thereafter to one of their children or a relative and eventually made its way to the Hospice Shoppe.

tag for blog 1

 

A typed note that was found in the bag probably from the last descendent.

tag for blog 2
 

Tag that was on the handle of the bag regarding its lock.

wedding invite for blog

 

 

 

A copy of the wedding announcement found inside the dentist’s bag

 

 

 

Hazelwwod with dog for blog

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. John T. Hazelwood with top hat and his dog, about 1900

parlour for blog
Dr. John T. Hazelwood performing hypnotism on a volunteer in a parlour setting about 1900.

From Shetland to the Miramichi – Uncovering a Bedcover’s Heritage

Dr. Carol Christiansen, Curator and Community Museums Officer at the Shetland Museum and Archives, in her latest book, Taatit Rugs: the Pile Bedcovers of Shetland (published in 2015 by Shetland Amenity Trust – ISBN 978-0-9932740-4-6) features an unusual New Brunswick Museum (NBM) artifact – an embroidered counterpane (or bed rugg). Originally donated as a floor covering by Margaret Keay and Janet Keay in 1961, its real function as a bedcovering was explained in the early 1970s when it was included in an exhibition on American bed ruggs at the Wadsworth Athaneum in Hartford, Connecticut. It was also featured on a Canada Post stamp in 1993.

Taatit rugs
Dr. Carol Christiansen. (2015). Taatit Rugs: the Pile Bedcovers of Shetland. Shetland: Shetland Heritage Publications.

The counterpane’s unusual production method – a double-looped embroidery with a short pile rather than the more common hooking – makes it a unique survivor among the New Brunswick Museum’s extensive bedding collection. Dr. Christiansen’s research on the “heavy woollen woven bedcover (rug) to which threads (taats) have been applied” led her to this wonderful early example.  Her interest has greatly expanded our understanding of the complex histories associated with heritage objects and has provided a revealing glimpse of Scottish immigration to the province.

At the time of the counterpane’s donation to the NBM, it was said to have been used by a Hutchison family of the Miramichi region of New Brunswick.  Further inquiry revealed that the great-aunt of the donors was Elizabeth Stuart (Stewart) Mackie (c. 1817-1867) who married Richard Hutchison (1812-1891) of Douglastown, New Brunswick, on 20 March 1843.  Richard Hutchison was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and immigrated to New Brunswick in 1826.  Elizabeth Stuart Mackie is said to have been born in Aberdeen, Scotland – her father was Alexander Mackie (c. 1781-1858) a native of Leith who had lived in Aberdeen and his wife, Elizabeth Stuart (Stewart) (c. 1782-1854).  The 1851 census indicates that they had immigrated to New Brunswick in 1832. Though not conclusive, this certainly gives our bedcovering a very strong likelihood of originating in Scotland and it significantly enhances the New Brunswick Museum’s ability to represent and discuss aspects of cultural transfer in the mid-19th century in the province.

1961-42(3)1961-42(4)

1961-42(13)
Maker Unknown (probably Scottish ?)
Counterpane (taatit rug or bed rugg), 1800-1850
Embroidered wool on tabby weave wool
221 x 157.5 cm
Provenance:  Used by the Hutchison family of Douglastown, New Brunswick [Probable line of family descent: Richard Hutchison (1812-1891) and Elizabeth Stuart Mackie Hutchison (c. 1817-1867); to her sister, Alexina Stuart Mackie Keay (1831-1909) and her husband, Reverend Peter Keay (1826-1873); to their son, Richard Hutchison Keay (1864-1944) and his wife, Ada Margaret Fraser Keay (1871-1957); to their daughters, Alexina Margaret Keay (1904-1987) and Janet Elder Keay (1913-2000)]
Gift of Margaret Keay and Janet Keay, 1961 (1961.42)
Collection of the New Brunswick Museum

Peter Larocque, Curator of New Brunswick Cultural History and Art, New Brunswick Museum