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Rare Books

Rare Books from the Burnaby Art Gallery Library and Resource Collection

November 4, 2013-February 2, 2014
Tommy Douglas Library

This special exhibition presents eight rare books from the Burnaby Art Gallery Library and Resource Collection. These editions include illustrations by well known artists such as Clare Leighton, Ernest Lumsden, and Charles H. Scott, all of whom are represented by works held in the Burnaby Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection. To view works held in the collection and learn more about these artists, visit

Clare Leighton (1898-1989) was a British/American artist. Leighton is widely known for her books and her wood engraving illustrations, which were not yet seen as a legitimate form of artistic expression. She persevered nonetheless, with depictions of the natural environment and the reality of hard labour and its virtues being core themes in her work.

Charles H. Scott (1886-1964) graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1909 and emigrated to Canada in 1912, finally settling in Vancouver in 1914. Scott's belief in the importance of cultural consciousness for a city and its citizens inspired him to be a founding member of the BC Arts League in 1919. This group lobbied for the establishment of an art school and an art gallery for the city of Vancouver at a time when neither existed. Due to the efforts of the BC Arts League, the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art opened its doors in 1935. Scott served as the school's principal from 1926 to 1952 and was instrumental in establishing the school as one of the most vital in the country, attracting teachers such as Jock Macdonald and Fred Varley. In 1931, the Vancouver Art Gallery opened to the public. Away from the demands on his time as an administrator and teacher, Scott used what little leisure time he had to paint and much of his work depicts the BC landscape.

Ernest S. Lumsden (1883-1948) was a distinguished painter and an authority on etching. When an illness prevented him from continuing his post as a naval cadet in the mid-1890s, he enrolled at the Reading Art School in London where he studied drawing and painting. His first exhibition of etchings was in 1906 at the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers Black and White exhibition, and he subsequently went on to exhibit across Europe before accepting a position as an instructor at the newly created Edinburgh College of Art in 1908. Thanks to a generous donation by David Lemon, the Burnaby Art Gallery holds an extraordinary collection of over 600 Ernest Lumsden prints.