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HUMANITIES 467 the mass media would have us believe to the contrary notwithstanding, the locus of sovereignty has not shifted from the Crown in Great Britain to an independent people in Canada. Sovereignty remains inherent in the Crown. But the Crown which exercises this sovereignty in Canada has shifted from being the British Crown to being a Canadian Crown. And the nature of the sovereignty which this Canadian Crown now exercises in Canada is closely modelled on the sovereignty which the British Crown has been exercising in the United Kingdom. The language of symbols speaks clearly. One of the more pleasant discoveries in store for the reader who peruses this book will be the gradual realization that he begins to understand this language of symbols. And one of the more pleasant byproducts may well be the discovery that heraldry, vexillology, and sigillography are certainly not archaic and possibly not even arcane. (J. BRUCKMANN) Majorie Lismer Bridges. A Border of Beauty: Arthur Lismer's Pen and Pencil Red Rock/Macmillan. ix, 156. $16.95 As the author makes clear, this is really Arthur Lismer's book, for much of the prose in it comes from his unpublished manuscripts, lecture notes, and letters. Furthermore, the book's visual attractiveness rests demonstrably upon some fifty-three of Lismer's drawings which admirably complement his writing and the text provided by Majorie Lismer Bridges, his daughter. The text, which links the excerpts taken from Lismer's files, makes no attempt to assess the artist's contribution either to painting or to education; it is largely biographical. Marjorie Lismer Bridge's biography of her father (1885-1969) is a modest and pleasantly entertaining account of one of the most interesting figures of the Group of Seven. The artist's character emerges both in his outspoken prose and in his delightful sketches. His observations in 1926 on the distinctiveness oHorm that belonged to the Group of Seven's reaction to the Canadian landscape are current today in art criticism: not classical, not romantic. It was stark realism of some aspect of the north country in its austerity and severe aloofness that appalled by its searching and objective reality ... commonplace picturesqueness ... replaced by epical and powerfully moving shapes. (127) But twenty-four years later the mature Lismer's perspective reveals a degree of critical detachment that contrasts most interestingly with this earlier statement: 468 LETTERS IN CANADA 1977 Today these [paintings] appear mellow and simple, their sombreness accen· tuated - a little old-rnasterish, even romantic, and - in view of the later expressionism , irrationalism, surrealism, and automation of the avant-garde of 1950 - they appear even a little academic. (128) Lismer's drawings in A Border ofBeauty range from spirited cartoons of family life to windswept granite islets in Georgian Bay; from sketches made in a moment aboard ship or ashore in places as far apart as Basutoland and New Zealand to drawings of his employment from 1911 to 1912 as a commercial artist with the Grip Engraving Company; from such impressive sketches as Shipyard, Gaspe, 1927, and Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, 1930, to those like African Craftsmen, 1936, and The Group of Seven, 1952. Lismer emerges from these pages as a sturdy, independent thinker, a warm-hearted man, whose career as a painter was often interrupted while he championed, in classrooms and lecture halls in Canada and abroad, the cause of art education for young and old alike. His creed was a generous one: 'All artists should teach, or in some way help others to see, encourage them to create- if only on the assumption that life is much richer for all people if they can see further and deeper than others into the meaning and beauty of life' (139). As attractive and interesting as this book is, it does have weaknesses for which the publisher and editors must assume most of the responsibility . To begin: the book's typography and layout often offend. The typography is frequently tasteless. Especially annoying is the way key words are emphasized by heavy print in the text. Spelling errors are noticeable: Witwatersrand, acquisition, veldt, Rabelaisian, peculiar, and the necessity , or not, to capitalize mother. Too many blank pages detract...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 467-468
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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