Fonds UA G 200 - H. Mortimer Lamb and Molly Lamb Bobak

Title proper

H. Mortimer Lamb and Molly Lamb Bobak

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  • 1913-1936, 1945-1969 (Creation)
    Mortimer-Lamb, Harold
  • 1913-1936, 1945-1969 (Creation)
    Bobak, Molly Lamb

Physical description

4 cm of textual records
1 photograph : sepia tone 20 x 25 cm

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Mining engineer, journalist, photographer, artist, Harold Mortimer-Lamb was born in Leatherhead, England on 21 May 1872. H. Mortimer-Lamb came to Canada in 1889, settling in British Columbia. Most of his professional life, until retirement, was devoted to Canadian mining. He did, however, become interested in photography early on, specializing in soft focus romantic portraits. His work was widely exhibited and he was eventually elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. For many years, he also fostered a keen interest in the arts, helping to found a small art club in Victoria and frequently contributing articles on the Canadian art scene to the Canadian Magazine and other periodicals.

Mortimer-Lamb was appointed Secretary of the Canadian Mining Institute in the early 1900s which required him to relocate to Montreal. While living there, he had the opportunity to meet, and become acquainted with, many of the leading artists of the day including Homer Watson, William Brymner, Maurice Cullen, and later, members of the Group of Seven, in particular A.Y. Jackson. During this time, he also acted as the Montreal correspondent for the leading English art journal, The Studio. As an art critic he wrote in defence of the Group of Seven at a time when most other critics were attacking their work. Around 1920, he left his position at the Mining Institute in Montreal to take up the post of Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Division in Vancouver. In 1926, he opened a gallery on Robson Street with fellow photographer John Vanderpant. Although their association was short-lived, the gallery continued and was a centre for music, poetry, and painting. Among the artists showcased were members of the Group of Seven. After his retirement from the mining industry in 1941, he himself began to paint, his works being exhibited in Montreal and Vancouver.

Harold Mortimer-Lamb died in Burnaby, BC on 25 October 1970. His daughter is Molly Lamb-Bobak, well-known Canadian artist.

Source: Macdonald, Colin S. "Lamb, Harold Mortimer." A dictionary of Canadian artists, vol. 3, 1971. Ottawa: Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd. p.719-20.

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Biographical history

Painter, watercolourist and print-maker, Molly Lamb Bobak, the daughter of Harold Mortimer-Lamb and Alice Mary Price, was born 25 February 1922 at Vancouver, BC. Educated at the Vancouver School of Art (1938 - 1941), she studied under Jack L. Shadbolt who greatly influenced her work. In 1942 she joined the Canadian Women's Army Corp and in 1945, through the intervention of A.Y. Jackson and Harry McCurry (Director, National Gallery of Canada), she was appointed a war artist, becoming the only woman to hold the post. It was here that she met her husband, Bruno Bobak, also a Canadian war artist.

In 1960 she moved to Fredericton, NB with her husband and held a teaching post at the University of New Brunswick. She was accorded a major travelling retrospective exhibition by the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina, SK) in 1993. Molly Bobak received honorary degrees from UNB (1983), Mount Allison University (1984) and Saint Thomas University (1994) and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1996 she received the Order of Canada and in 2002, the Order of New Brunswick.

Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia, 1988; Lumsden, Ian. "Molly Lamb Bobak." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation, 2008. 12 August 2008.

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This fonds contains correspondence from A.Y. Jackson (1882 - 1974) to H. Mortimer Lamb and his daughter Molly Lamb Bobak regarding the Canadian art scene. Topics covered include Jackson's exhibitions, sketching trips, his involvement in the Royal Canadian Academy of Art and his health problems. There is also a letter from Jackson's niece, Naomi Jackson Groves, to Bruno Bobak regarding the purchase of one of his paintings and a letter from Groves to Molly Bobak regarding the health of Alex Jackson.

The fonds also includes one photograph, "A Canadian Soldier" taken by H. Mortimer-Lamb" which was exhibited at the London Salon of Photography in 1939.

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  • English

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Associated materials

The British Columbia Archives holds the Harold Lamb fonds (MS-2834); Library Archives Canada holds the Harold Mortimer-Lamb fonds (Cain No. 189548) and the Molly Lamb Bobak and Bruno Bobak fonds.

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