Losing Tom

Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine. 1916-17. Collection: National Gallery of Canada. On a late July evening in 1917, A.Y. Jackson was expecting orders to leave the 23rd reserve battalion at Shoreham and return to front-line duty when a sergeant-major visited him. “An officer to see you, Jackson, at my place.” Adapted and condensed from Jackson's … Continue reading Losing Tom

A.Y. Jackson and Scotland's artists

Charles Hodge Mackie, Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice. By 1912. National Galleries, Scotland. As I researched my forthcoming Jackson's Wars, Robin Rodger, a documentation officer in the collections department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture, was a big help in sorting out A.Y. Jackson's relationship with several leading British artists early … Continue reading A.Y. Jackson and Scotland's artists

The beautiful Ideas that kill

Excerpt from Jackson's Wars: A.Y. Jackson, the Great War, and the Birth of the Group of Seven, a work in progress under contract with McGill-Queen's University Press The Caudron biplane seen by A.Y. Jackson over Étaples in June 1912. Maurice Gaillaux’s passenger, A.M. Ramsay, was a partner of aviator William Hugh Ewen in a Glasgow … Continue reading The beautiful Ideas that kill

What’s in a name?

The twitterverse and media had all sorts of fun with the boys’ and girls’ names registered in Alberta in 2018. Released in January 2019 under the province’s open government policy, the lists of baby names included some real, well, horrors. Who names their son “Despot”? Who names their daughter “Anger”? What kind of marriage ceremony … Continue reading What’s in a name?

Columbus, Indians, and the Guanches

When Christopher Columbus strode ashore in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, he famously called the indigenous people he met “Indians.” The main talking points of his legacy are still the consequences of his arrival for the people who bear that incongruous label: millions would suffer and die, and cultures would struggle to endure the … Continue reading Columbus, Indians, and the Guanches