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September 19, 2005, Kleinburg, ON - The late Peter Winkworth was a passionate collector of Canadiana throughout his lifetime. Over a period of some forty-five years, this Quebec-born British resident amassed a collection of 3,300 lithographs, 700 watercolours and drawings, and a number of oil paintings, providing a valuable visual record of Canada's history.
The Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana: Loyal She Remains - Ontario, the first of a series of traveling exhibitions from Library and Archives Canada, opened at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on September 17, 2005. Many pieces in the Winkworth collection depict scenes of 18th- and 19th-century Ontario. This unique regional exhibition includes approximately seventy paintings, drawings and prints relevant to the Province of Ontario and its history, complemented by a selection of rare books and documents from the permanent holdings of Library Archives Canada.
Speaking about the 2002 Library and Archives Canada acquisition, Mr. Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada said, "The $6-million sale in 2002 represented the largest and most important collection the archives had ever acquired. Today, it provides a visual record not just of landscapes, towns and events but also of daily activity. It gives life and immediacy to the stories of our past."
Included in the exhibition are works by many well-known artists, including Paul Kane, Frances Anne Hopkins, James Pattison Cockburn, and Frederick Arthur Verner. One of the Cockburn watercolours, painted in 1829, shows Toronto (then the town of York) and its residents when it was the capital of Upper Canada. Another work in the show, a hand-coloured lithograph by George D'Almaine, details what St. Mark's, the Episcopal Church of Niagara, looked like in 1834.
Loyal She Remains - Ontario is divided into three thematic sections: Conflict and Commerce explores the commercial, economic and exploration reasons that brought newcomers to Ontario; New Lands, New Peoples presents geographical views, depictions from nature and scenes of the lives of our country's Indigenous peoples; and finally, Life and Leisure illustrates the growth in Ontario's population, its industry and transportation networks, as well as sporting and other social activities undertaken by Ontario residents during their leisure hours.
Born in 1929, Peter Winkworth came from a wealthy family that lived in Quebec for many generations. In his twenties, he moved to England to work in financial consulting. Shortly after settling in the United Kingdom, he was involved in a serious sporting accident. During his convalescence he began to study Canadiana seriously, and soon became a full-time collector.
Calling upon the English relatives of Canada's earliest settlers, Mr. Winkworth was able to create the world's largest private collection of Canadiana. The quality and range of the collection attests to his expertise and careful research in selecting art, books and historical documents. He shared his collection with Canadians, lending works to several important exhibitions and helping to repatriate these works to major Canadian institutions. In 1983, Peter Winkworth received the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canada's cultural heritage.
Peter Winkworth passed away in London, England, on August 20, 2005, after a lengthy illness. In 2002, Mr. Winkworth made the difficult decision to sell the majority of his collection to Ottawa's Library and Archives Canada (National Archives of Canada at the time) and to bring the artwork back to Canada.
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Culture. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,500 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists.
The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $30 for families. There is a $5 parking fee. For more information about the McMichael visit www.mcmichael.com
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Pauline M. Portelance, Media Relations Officer
Library and Archives Canada: 613-996-6128
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