While researching some copyright questions on the artwork within the estate's collection for an upcoming location shoot at the mansion I fell upon the interesting story of Canadian painter Arthur Henry Hider.
AH Hider is one of the fab five, a group of painters identified as so, because they are considered the nations premier historical and illustrative artists. Do not worry, I had never heard of the fab five before, but this label intrigued me to learn more about Arthur. The fab five composed of Hider; JD Kelly, A Heming, CW Jeffreys and Owen Staples, emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and according to this quote from the web, "no artists, in Canadian history, have had the impact on the national psyche to compare with that of these fabulous top five painters of Canada's past." (canadasite.com)
AH Hider (1870-1952) worked as a painter and commercial illustrator. Working in illustration on product calendars for Gerlach Barklow in Joliet, Illinois in the early 20th century, Hider actually had his start in terms of fame, with his war art depicting the Canadians in the Boer War. He brought the actions of the first Canadian contingent engaged in an overseas war into the living rooms of the Home Front. His work was so well received and realistic, that the Toronto Lithographic Company released reprints for the public to purchase. Hider's talents continued to be in demand and with the outbreak of WWI he was commissioned to create the many war posters that we are familiar with today. Due to his popularity and success of his work, especially the commercial appeal, Hider was never what is recognised as a starving artist, having secured many contracts over the years, his art generated a living income.
These paintings of the Parkwood Stables champions, adorn the walls of the Parkwood Conservatory within the recreation wing.
According to any of the histories and biographies of Hider that I have come across this last week, his legacy has not been the ad work, catalogues or horses, although viewing of Ebay or ephemera auctions will attest to his ad work popularity, but his footnote on Canadian pop culture is his work depicting history. Or more so, his legacy is that he has captured Canadian historical events in gouache. In an idyllic notation from canadasite.com, the following quote references this legacy, "for countless generations of Canadian school children, Hider's pictures captured the romance of Canadian history, and remained the favourite images they long remembered into the twilight of old age."
Another discovery among the Parkwood collection and one that opened the door into the life, times and legacy of the fab five of Canadian Art and more so of Arthur Hider that I wanted to share with you.
No one really knows where a copyright question from the film industry will lead.