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Robert Reid

Australian Aboriginal Art

The native art of Australian aboriginals consists mainly of paintings on tree bark that has preserved incredibly well. The discovery of this art-form electrified the anthropology world, but the art world in general was stunned by its brilliance as well. Consisting mainly of the myths that surround the beasts who created the world, it’s the stylish rendition on bark that haunts us, even though we don’t understand the content. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, these works-of-art will stand on their own for all time. Continue Reading…

The Book that Saved a City

(Editor’s note: The book discussed here is Living Past of Montreal: Passe Vivant de Montreal, by R.D. Wilson and Eric McLean. Here is the original review from the Ottawa Citizen, and here are some listings for sale via AbeBooks.)

In 1963, when I came to Montreal, the historic part of the city, called “Old Montreal,” was decaying and in danger of demolition. So much so that Dick Wilson, the art director of a local pharmaceutical company, set himself the task of spending weekends drawing various buildings before they were torn down. Graham Warrington, a Vancouver friend who was living in Montreal at the time, noticed him drawing and told me about what he was doing. Continue Reading…

World War II Front Pages

Douglas & McIntyre published a book of mine called The Front Page Story of World War II. It consisted of Vancouver newspapers I had collected during the war when I was going to Kitsilano High School. I loved the FINAL editions that came out at 4 p.m. because of their large and colourful woodtype headlines. Sometimes I would go down after school to the Sun and Province press rooms and watch them printing the “Finals” on the giant, roaring presses. The News-Herald “Final” came out in the morning and was printed on green newsprint with large headlines of the latest disasters. Continue Reading…

Before the Dam: Rural Life in the Kootenay Valley of B.C. Before it was Flooded

PHOTOGRAPHED BY STANLEY TRIGGS

STANLEY TRIGGS was at UBC when I was there in the late 1940s, and I heard his name bruited about in relation to the Photographic Club. I never met him, so when I came to McGill in 1963 I was surprised to hear his name again, this time as Curator of the Notman Collection of 250,000 glass plates at McGill’s McCord Museum. We became great friends when we worked together producing the famous book of photographs from the Notman Collection in 1967. Continue Reading…

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Alcuin Society is pleased to participate in the world-wide celebrations of Her Majesty’s birthday through our Patron, the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada. Her Coronation was during this month in 1953, so we celebrating the beginning of her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God Queen of the Realm and of her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Long may She Reign. Continue Reading…

The British Columbia Library Quarterly

Librarians are a civilized lot, so it was a great pleasure for me produce their quarterly journal for four years before I left Vancouver. I printed it in my basement printing shop in my home in Burnaby, and had a totally free hand with the design of both the text pages and the ad pages (including Duthie Books ads, for example). The Covers are outstanding because I got my students at the Art School, where I was teaching, to do woodcuts and linocuts for me to print on the covers. George Kuthan also contributed mightily to the covers, as can be seen by the wonderful series or wild flowers that he did for us. Continue Reading…

Arthur Erickson on Architecture

Arthur Erickson was a brilliant architect, and now we find that it was his advanced intellect that enabled him to rise to the heights of accomplishment. Terry Berger selected these quotations from his writings, and I designed a book of show them to the world, but it never was published, so here are a few of them, along with some photographs of his work. Continue Reading…

The Sunday Coloured Comics

The great weekly thrill of the 1930s and 40s was the coloured comics section of the weekend paper, with the unfolding of the never-ending adventures of the larger-than-life characters that inhabited them, and who became staples of our common culture. Continue Reading…

Publishing the Lande Bibliography

THE LANDE BIBLIOGRAPHY is a very special, lavishly produced book that reflects the monumental Lawrence Lande Collection of Canadiana that Lawrence had just donated to McGill with the proviso that McGill produce a catalog of the collection. I had just come to the McGill Press and, when handed the the project, decided that such a collection demanded a monumental book so I bought a special mouldmade paper from Spain, linen bookcloth from Holland, pigskin and Oasis Niger goatskins from Britain and hand-made papers from Britain and Italy. It was Mono-type-set in Montreal in Bulmer, the same type as you are reading here [below]. We thought the book must be printed in Canada but there was no printer capable of such a feat here, so McGill bought a Heidelberg cylinder press and we hired Ib Kristensen to come from Vancouver and print the book for us, two pages as a time on beautiful Spanish paper on the press shown here, set in the basement of Redpath Hall next to the library. Continue Reading…