Artwork by John Douglas Lawley,  View of Montreal from the Lookout

Doug Lawley
View of Montreal from the Lookout

oil on board
signed lower left
20 x 24 ins ( 50.8 x 61 cms )

Auction Estimate: $1,500.00$1,200.00 - $1,500.00

Price Realized $2,040.00
Sale date: March 26th 2024

Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto

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John Douglas Lawley
(1906 - 1971)

Born at Glace Bay, N.S., he graduated from Glace Bay High School; Mount Allison University; McGill University. He taught for many years and specialized in Latin. Later he became Principal of Westmount High School, Montreal. After his retirement he continued to teach Latin at Lower Canada College, Montreal. Painting first interested him in 1937 and he gave serious consideration to becoming an artist but teaching won out as a first occupation. He studied painting under Agnes Lefort in Montreal and Albro Hibbard if the American National Academy.

For many years he painted scenes in and around Montreal and became known for his Mount Royal studies livened with cab horses. Horses were of special interest to him and one of his ambitions was to visit Sable Island to paint the legendary wild ponies. Finally he received permission from the Department of Fisheries to visit the Island. He had done extensive research into the origin of the ponies and found their history very probably went back to the year 1518 when Baron de Lery of France left some domestic animals in the island after attempting to establish a settlement there. The Island subsequently became the scene of some 250 shipwrecks which caused the loss of ten thousand lives. Lawley flew over the Island several times before landing to study the ponies close up. He did a series of paintings of the ponies wandering among the sand dunes which sometimes rise to a height of seventy or eighty feet. The Island was later occupied by nine men and one woman from the meteorological division of the Government of Canada.

His Sable Island paintings were exhibited at his first solo show, held at the Dominion Gallery, Montreal, in April of 1962. The next year at Cowansville, Quebec, Fred Pattemore noted his work as follows, “A trifle conservative, the canvases do, nevertheless trap the movement of the horse, making a sensible sacrifice of detail to make this effect even more pronounced. He occasionally strays from Sable Island to Montreal and Quebec City, quite aptly capturing the blue haze over the metropolis and the quaint charm of our provincial capital. Even here the horse creeps in, whether hitched to a calèche or a sleigh, in spring or in winter. In these paintings the colourful dress of the calèche drivers of Quebec, the raccoon coast and so on provide a good deal of life and interest to his works,”

He is represented in the collection of the Royal Trust Company, Montreal; Glace Bay Miners’ Museum Foundation and elsewhere as well as in many private collections. His work can be seen at the Dominion Galleries, Sherbrooke Street, Montreal. He lived in Montreal.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979