Artwork by David Lloyd Blackwood,  M.V. Trepassey

David Blackwood
M.V. Trepassey

oil on canvas board
signed lower left; signed, titled and dated “May 1959” on the reverse; unframed
16 x 20 ins ( 40.6 x 50.8 cms )

Auction Estimate: $3,500.00$2,500.00 - $3,500.00

Price Realized $4,320.00
Sale date: June 24th 2021

Provenance:
Captain Earl Winsor, Newfoundland & Labrador (a commission)
by descent to the present Private Collection, Newfoundland & Labrador
This early painting by David Blackwood was commissioned by Earl Winsor, who captained the M.V. Trepassey with his father Joshua Winsor and his brother, P.C. (Ches) Winsor, residents of Wesleyville, Newfoundland and principal owners of the Winsor Trading Company.

Painted while David Blackwood was in high school, the artist recalls ordering the canvas board and paint materials from the T. Eaton catalogue and believes the cost of the commission to have been approximately $20 and the cost of the materials around $5.

The M.V. Trepassey was a storied Newfoundland vessel, built in the 1940s, which has been featured on postage stamps from the British Antarctic Territories and the Falkland Islands. The vessel is the namesake of a British Antarctic base and the ship’s name was given to Trepassey Island in Antarctica.

The ship is one of ten vessels which were known as the Splinter Fleet, constructed “...in Clarenville, Newfoundland between 1944 and 1947. The ships were built for the Newfoundland government and were operated by the Newfoundland railway. The ships were named after different communities throughout the province.”

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the M.V. Trepassey serviced the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador as a chartered vessel to the Canadian National Railway.

The Winsor family are the subjects of well-known prints by David Blackwood, including “Captain Winsor” (1973) and “Brian and Martin Winsor Sleeping” (1985).

We extend our thanks to David & Anita Blackwood for providing details related to this artwork and to the family of the consignor (a descendant of the Winsors) for providing details related to the M.V. Trepassey.

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David Lloyd Blackwood
(1941 - 2022) OSA, RCA, Order of Canada

Born in Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, on of the major sealing towns of that province, he is a descendant of a long line of master mariners. Blackwood was awarded a Government of Newfoundland Centennial scholarship to study at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto under Carl Schaefer, John Alfsen, H.W.G. MacDonald and Frederick Hagan. He went on to become Art Master at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. In 1969, Blackwood became the first artist-in-residence at Erindale College, University of Toronto, Mississauga.

David Blackwood uses his background on the East coast of Canada to create grande visual narratives reflecting both the landscape and culture of the province with an emphasis on combining the history, legends, and myths of settlement and developing culture of Newfoundland. He is best-known for his colour etchings with aquatint. His work was used to provide illustrations for Farley Mowat’s “Wake of the Great Sealers”, a collection of stories about the heroic Newfoundlanders who braved the icy seas of the treacherous North Atlantic in search of seals. Driven by hard times at home it was the only hope many of the men had of making money to feed their families. Men perished when their ships went down during wintry gales. Blackwood, a native of a sealing town himself, and a descendent of fishing skippers and sealing captains, provides Mowat’s stirring text with equally stirring and poetic figurative drawings and prints.

Blackwood was awarded the Order of Canada in 1993 in recognition of his work contributing to and preserving the cultural life and heritage of Canada through his artwork. At the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Blackwood Research Centre within the Morin Gelber Print and Drawing Centre was created after a major acquisition of the artists works in 2000. The museum also elected Blackwood as its honourary Chairman in 2003, the first practicing artist to hold this position. In the same year, he was awarded the Order of Ontario.

As one of Canada's most celebrated print-makers, David Blackwood's works are part of significant Canadian and international private and corporate collections including The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada. Blackwood currently lives in Port Hope while maintaining a studio in Wesleyville, Newfoundland.

Sources: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977