Water color / Pencil Sketches by Tomhu Huron Roberts – Part One

“Tomtu Roberts seem to have been the first artist to live in Vancouver and make a living as an artist. The Robert’s family came to the city in 1885 and he and his father fought the fire firsthand in 1886 with a later result of injuries to his eyes. One of his first sketches (obviously named after the event) would of been “Vancouver before the Fire.” His work marks the end of the topographical era, using colours in an emotion- provoking way which would have been novel in British Columbia at the time” – “Artists Overland” – Burnaby Art Gallery

“Roberts was a good portrait painter and, since he was popular in this field in the day, it is quite likely that his paintings of people will have historical as well as artistic value. ” – Canadian artist’s life mysterious- “CanadiAntiquer” (newspaper) April 1983

Cow and Bridge 11″ x 7 1/2″Watercolor

First Snow 7 1/2″ x 8 5/8″Watercolor
Women in Cementary 7 1/4″ x 5 5/8″Watercolor

Harper claims that H Tomtu Roberts (1858-1938) arrived in Vancouver about 1886 and “dared to advertise himself as an artist”. It is evidence to suggest that at least some individuals in the new city were interested in the arts.” “From Fine Arts in Vancouver”(thesis) 1886-1930 Thom William W 709-711T45F

Country Road/Clouds 9 3/8″ x 11 1/2″ (pg 20)Watercolor and Ink
Sunset Sketches “9 3/8 x 11 1/2″Pencil and Watercolor

Bridge by the Blue Mountain 5 1/8″ x 7 1/4″Watercolor

Self Portrait 5″ x 8″Charcoal on Paper
Wood/Sky 12 1/2″ x 10″Ink and Pencil
Red River “15x 71/4” Ink and Pencil
Fir Tree “15x 71/4” Ink and Pencil

“They are little gems, Even more exciting were the numerous portrait studies and figure sketches. This artist had a most penetrating eye and seemed to be able to catch not only the character and personality of his sitter or subject but also his stance whether it be charcoal or pencil or ink and pencil, he was a most accomplished draftsman. The various drawing around early days in Toronto were most impressive but I was far more fascinated with the works from the Prairies and West Coast. Possibly the most fascinating aspect are his written notes on painting and color and his various observations in art. He must of been a most interesting teacher and it would be intriguing to explore who his pupils were and what influence he may of had on the West Coast.”H.Patton, Fine Arts Consultant, Toronto

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