Fonds - Harold Mortimer Lamb, Vera Weatherbie, and Molly Lamb Bobak fonds

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Harold Mortimer Lamb, Vera Weatherbie, and Molly Lamb Bobak fonds

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  • 1909-1978 (Creation)
    Lamb, Harold Mortimer, 1872-1970

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17 photographs and other material

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Biographical history

Harold Mortimer Lamb (1872-1970) was born in Surrey, England. He came to Canada and settled first in Montreal, Q.C., and later he moved to Vancouver, B.C., and contributed articles to the Bureau of Information for the B.C. Government. He became Secretary-Treasurer of the Provincial Mining Association of B.C.; Secretary of the Canadian Mining Institute and served on the staff of the Department of Mines in Ottawa.

As an art critic he wrote in defence of the Group of Seven when many other critics attacked their work. After his retirement he took up painting, around 1942. His paintings and photography were displayed at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1952.

Harold Mortimer Lamb married Vera Weatherbie (1909-1977), and is also the father of prominent Canadian artist: Molly Lamb Bobak.

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Biographical history

Vera Weatherbie (1909-1977) was one of the first graduates of the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (VSDAA) in 1929. She is well known for her early association with Group of Seven painter and VSDAA faculty member Frederick Varley and her later marriage to sometime-artist/photographer Harold Mortimer Lamb. These relationships are matters of record, but it is important to remember that Weatherbie was an accomplished painter in her own right, regarded more recently as being underrated during her lifetime.

Weatherbie enrolled in the first class at the VSDAA in October 1925 at the age of 16. After graduation she took "post-graduate" studies at the School in 1929/30 and later attended the Royal Academy in London, England. She won many awards for her artwork during her association with the VSDAA, including the Vancouver Exhibition Association Scholarship in Drawing & Painting for 1927/28 and 1928/29 and the Fyfe-Smith Travelling Scholarship, 1929/30. Later in 1934, she won the Beatrice Stone Medal in Painting for My-E-En. Her work continued to be shown with some regularity through the early 1950s in Vancouver, Seattle and at national exhibitions. Apparently shunning recognition for herself, there is little record of Weatherbie's activities after the early 1950s. My-E-En was shown at Vancouver Art & Artists, 1931-1983, the exhibition which opened the current location of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1983.

To support herself and possibly to have readily-available studio space, Weatherbie taught drawing, composition and painting at the British Columbia College of Art. This contemporary "rival" of the VSDAA was founded in Vancouver by Varley and Jock Macdonald in 1933. The College relied on its tuition base for survival and only managed to do so for two years. It closed in 1935.

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Born on February 25, 1922, Molly Lamb Bobak grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. Bobak's mother, Mary Williams, initially worked as a housekeeper for Bobak's father, Harold Mortimer-Lamb, when his wife became ill.

She received her first art training at the Saturday morning classes at the Vancouver School of Art, and later took a four year degree followed by a year of post graduate studies at the school (1938-1942). She joined the Canadian Women's Army Corps in 1942, and was appointed a war artist in 1945. In 1945 she married the Polish-Canadian artist Bruno Bobak, also a Canadian War Artist, and settled with him in Vancouver. She is a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, the B.C. Society of Artists, and the Canadian Society of Graphic Artists. She is represented in the National Gallery of Canada by several works.

Since 1980 she has received increasing attention by having been included in a number of exhibitions. Molly Lamb was in the first retrospective held by Emily Carr College of Art in 1980 (Vancouver School of Art: The Early Years, 1925-1939). In 1984/85, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria included Portrait of Molly in British Columbia Women Artists, 1885-1985.

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Scope and content

The fonds provides a snapshot of the lives of Harold Mortimer Lamb and his wife, the artist Vera Weatherbie as well as Mortimer Lamb's daughter, Molly Lamb Bobak.

The records contained within consist of personal correspondence, photographs, an unpublished manuscript, art works, diploma, medals, publications and magnetic tapes.

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Access to the Archives of the Vancouver Art Gallery is at the discretion of the Librarian/Archivist.

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A full inventory with series descriptions and file lists is available at the Vancouver Art Gallery Archives / Library.

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BCAUL control number: VAG-3338

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