Fonds P098 - Frederick Simpson Coburn fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Frederick Simpson Coburn fonds

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  • Source of title proper:
  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA E001 P098

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1828-2010 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

0.64 l.m. of textual records, 222 photographs, 77 postcards, 151 images, 1 film (3 min., 46 sec.): 8 mm, Kodachrome, col., 1 audio tape cassette, 1 compact disc.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Frederick Simpson Coburn was born in Melbourne on 18 March 1871. After attending Saint Francis College in Richmond, he trained as an artist, studying first at the Arts and Crafts School in Montreal and then at several American and European institutions, including New York's Carl Hecker School of Art and the Royal Academy in Germany. Coburn achieved recognition first as an illustrator and then as a painter. From 1898 to 1913, he illustrated many literary works, including those of William Henry Drummond, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Louis Fréchette. Coburn returned to Canada from residence in Europe in 1913. He set up his studio in Melbourne, but maintained a dwelling in Montreal. At this time, he began painting Quebec landscapes, in particular scenes with horses. While living in Antwerp, Belgium, Coburn had stayed with the Scheepers family, during which time he fell in love with one of their daughters, Malvina Scheepers. During the WWI, she joined Coburn in Melbourne, where they later married. Malvina passed away from cancer in Paris in 1933.

Many institutions hold works by Coburn: the National Gallery of Canada, the National Archives of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Bishop's University. As well, his work is found in private collections in the USA, Belgium, Germany, and Japan. Coburn was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1920. He died in Melbourne on 26 May 1960.

Custodial history

The documents were donated to the archives in 1992 and 1996 by W.N. Coburn, nephew of the painter. Some of them had been found in the donor's residence in Melbourne, mingled with documents relating to Daniel Thomas Sr. and Jr. and William Hoste Webb. In 2013, Teri Coburn, the painter's great-niece, donated the remaining documents that had been retained and collected by the family.

Scope and content

The fonds contains primary source information on the life and work of Coburn as an illustrator and painter. It consists mainly of biographical works, photographs, postcards, correspondence, scrapbooks, magazines, some original works (unsigned), prints and reproductions of Canadian, American, and European works from various publications, and documents related to reproduction of Coburn's works. The fonds is comprised of the following series: Private Life (1844-2008), Artistic Endeavours (1893-2010), Professional Life/Affaires (1893-2005), Finances and Property (1914-1964), and Personal Collections (1828-[1960?]).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The documents were donated in five accruals; in 1992 and 1996 by W.N. Coburn, nephew of the painter, in 2016 by Evelyn Coburn, and in 2013 and 2018 by Teresa Coburn, Coburn's great-niece.

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German

Script of material

Language and script note

Most of the documents are in English, some in French and German.

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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

General note

The documents were donated in three accruals (1992 and 1996) by W.N. Coburn, nephew of the painter, and in 2013 by Teresa Coburn, Coburn's great-niece.

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Rules or conventions

Finding aid prepared using Rules for Archival Description (RAD).

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Sources

New material was processed and added to the fonds by Courtney Morrison, archival intern, under the supervision of Jody Robinson, in 2014 courtesy of funding from Canadian Heritage, and in 2018 by Jazmine Aldrich, archival intern, courtesy of funding from Canadian Heritage.

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