I have seen a few paintings by the legendary artist Emily Carr and I have come away with a feeling that I have experienced something sensitive, profound, female powered, and intimate. Her portrayal of B.C.’s native villages are absolutely stirring. That particular collection was eventually collected and bound as a book called Klee Wyck and earned her a Governor General’s Gold Medal for literature.
When in Victoria, Visit the Artist’s Childhood Home
For avid followers of Emily, or those young or emerging artists, a visit to the artist’s childhood home is a must see when visiting the Victoria area. Local historians or just tourists looking for something unique and personal as a way to spend a couple of hours between attractions would enjoy the house and gallery too.
The house was styled in an Italianate fashion by two local and well known architects for the Carr family in 1863. Back then it had much more landscaped size as Emily had described the gardens and hedges in her writings, a sight ripe and ready for a young artist’s eyes. Originally, the house was at 44 Carr St, but has been renamed to 207 Government St.
However, when her father passed away, the property was left to her sister, Edith, who sold off lots except for five remaining ones for the family. Emily had a house for herself built on adjacent Simcoe St, where she ran her own art school. The Carr house had a few different identities before gaining its rightful title in 1976. That’s when the government bought it and began the long and careful restoration process.
Time Your Visit to the Museum to Participate in Special Events
And now you can visit it yourself from Tuesday to Saturday from 11-4 pm. These summer hours are in effect from May 1st to Sept. 30th. There are a couple of events going on now and coming up soon. First is ‘Tuesdays in July’ from 10-3:30 and run all July on the Tuesdays, of course. Artist in residence this time is Gillian Redwood. This offer gives you a house tour, a behind-the-scenes look at Emily’s work, refreshments, and a transfer to the Hotel Grand Pacific, where Gillian will teach and guide through the process of painting and sketching. The price is 90$ per person and includes art supplies.
And on October 19th, there will be a book launching event featuring the life of Emily Carr written by her long time friend and sketching partner Edythe Hembroff- Schleicher. The book is entitled M.E., a portrayal of Emily Carr. Edythe (who has since passed away) held the position as Special Consultant of Emily’s art, life, memoirs and legacy. In her own right, she was a talented artist, researcher, feminist, and avid traveler. So it sounds like she had all the makings of being a great writer!
There will a long and steady stream of workshops and exhibits from this historical spot coming in the future. That fact that Emily was born here in the Carr House makes the visit even more special, as you can read about the memories through the artist’s perception. A local gem, Emily’s love for Victoria and BC is included in her legacy of her life’s work.
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Image Credit: Timetravelbc.com (http://timetravelbc.com/heritage-sites/emily-carr-house/)