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 Frances Anne Beechey Hopkins  (1836 - 1919)



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Lived/Active: Quebec / England/Canada      Known for: fur trade era canoe scene painting, landscape, frontier scene

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Raft in the Lake of Two Mountains, Ottawa River
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information, submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke, is from the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative.

Frances Anne Hopkins (née Beechey) was probably taught painting at home, because she was an accomplished artist by the time of her marriage in 1858, at the age of 20, to Edward Martin Hopkins (1820-1893), a widower with three children, who was the Secretary to Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Hopkins moved to Canada with her husband in the same year as her marriage, settling in Lachine, Quebec, where she had two sons by 1861. In that year, the couple and their children moved to a house on Cote des Neiges, near Montreal, where they had one more child by 1863, and the family returned to England in 1870.

Hopkins continued to paint Canadian subjects for the rest of her life. Her artistic output can be found in such institutions as the Glenbow Museum, Calgary; Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; McCord Museum, Montreal; Minnesota Historical Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and elsewhere. She exhibited several of her paintings at the Royal Academy in London, England upon her return there.
Adamson, Jeremy. From Ocean to Ocean: Nineteenth Century Watercolour Painting in Canada. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1978.

Allodi, Mary. Canadian Watercolours and Drawings in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1974.

Baile de Laperriere, Charles, ed. The Society of Women Artists Exhibitors, 1855-1996. Calne, Wiltshire, England: Hilmarton Manor Press, 1996.

Benezit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris: Librairie Grund, 1976.

Farr, Dorothy and Luckyj, Natalie. From Women's Eyes: Women Painters in Canada. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1975.

Franks, C. E. S. The Canoe and White Water: From Essential to Sport. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977.

Galbraith, John S. The Little Emperor: Governor Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company. Toronto: Macmillan, 1976.

Galbraith, John S. The Enigma of Sir George Simpson. Beaver 306 (Spring 1976): 4-9.

Grant, George Munro; illustrated by Dorothy Stevens. Ocean To Ocean: Sandford Fleming's Expedition Through Canada in 1872. Toronto: Radisson Society of Canada, 1925 [revised edition].

Graves, Algernon. A Dictionary of Artists Who Have Exhibited Works in the Principal London Exhibitions from 1760-1893. New York: Lennox Hill, 1970.

Graves, Algernon. Royal Academy Exhibitors 1905-1970. Wilshire, England: Himalton Manor Press, Vol. 2, 1987.

Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Works from its Foundations in 1769 to 1904. London: Henry Graves & Co. and George Bell & Sons, 1905.

Harper, J. Russell. A Century of Colonial Painting. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1964.

Harper, J. Russell. Early Painters and Engravers in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970.

Harper, J. Russell. Painting in Canada: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966, 2nd edition 1977.

Johnson, Jane. Works Exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists 1824-1893 and the New English Art Club 1888-1917. Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors' Club, 1975, reprint 1987.

Johnson, Jane and A. Greutzer. Dictionary of British Artists, 1880-1940. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1976.

Laing, Blair. Memoirs of an Art Dealer. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982.

MacDonald, Colin S.. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists.

McKendry, Blake. A to Z of Canadian Art: Artists and Art Terms. Kingston: B. McKendry, 1997.

Miller, Audrey. "Frances Anne Hopkins, 1838-1919." Lives and Works of the Canadian Artists. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1977.

Murray, Joan. The Last Buffalo: The Story of Frederick Arthur Verner, Painter of the Canadian West. Toronto: Pagurian Press, 1987.

National Archives of Canada. The Painted Past: Selected Paintings from the Picture Division of the Public Archives of Canada. Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1987.

Newlands, Anne. Canadian Art: From its Beginnings to 2000. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Firefly Books, 2000.

Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.

Pomeroy Jordana. "We Got Upon our Elephant & Went Out After Subjects": Capturing the World in Watercolor." Intrepid Women: Victorian Artists Travel. Edited by Jordana Pomeroy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005: 39-50.

Pomeroy, Jordana. "Picturing Their Empire: Victorian Women Artists Abroad." Art and the British Empire London: Tate Gallery, 2001.

Reid, Dennis. Collector's Canada Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1988.

Roberts, Kenneth G., and Philip Shackleton. The Canoe: A History of the Craft from Panama to the Arctic. Toronto: Macmillan, 1983.

Royal Academy of Arts. Exhibitions 1905-1970: A Dictionary of Artists and their Work in the Summer Exhibitions of the Royal Academy of Arts. East Ardsley: EP Publishing, 1982.

Schutlze, Thomas. Frances Anne Hopkins: Images from Canada Manotick, Ont:: Penumbra Press, 2008.
Thieme, Ulrich and Felix Becker. Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Leipzig, Germany: E. A. Seamans, 1962.

Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992.

Waters, Grant M. Dictionary of British Artists Working 1900-1950. Eastbourne: Eastbourne Fine Arts Publications, 1975.

Williamson, Moncrieff. Through Canadian Eyes: Trends and Influences in Canadian Art: 1815-1965. Calgary: Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 1976.

Winnipeg Art Gallery. The View From Here: Selections from the Canadian Historical Collection. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2000.

Wood, Christopher. The Dictionary of Victorian Painters. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1978.

Yeldham, Charlotte. Women Artists in Nineteenth-Century France and England. New York & London: Garland Publishing, Vol. 1, 1984.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following was submitted by MaryEllen Weller-Smith, whose has written a forthcoming biography, Frances Anne Hopkins: artist of canoe travel.

Frances Anne Hopkins, British, 1836-1919

Frances Anne (Beechey) Hopkins was born in Hampstead (London) England in 1836 (not 1838 as frequently reported). Considered the finest painter of fur trade-era canoe travel, her works are owned by major Canadian museums - the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Library and Archives Canada—and museums in canoe country in the US (the Minnesota History Center and the Tweed Museum in Duluth). Images are readily available online.

Born into a family full of artistic and scientific achievement, she was educated at home and received the special attention, instruction, and lifelong mentoring of her father's brother, the noted seascape artist Richard Brydges Beechey.  Her 1858 marriage to Edward Martin Hopkins, an officer of the Hudson's Bay Company, brought her to Lachine, just upriver from Montreal. She arrived with considerable artistic skills and the desire to paint Canadian Scenery.

Paintings of foreign lands and their peoples were very popular in nineteenth-century Britain. Artists now known as the Travelers and Topographers turned sojourns abroad into lucrative careers. Frances Anne Hopkins, who signed her work with the monogram FAH, exhibited in Britain with the Royal Academy (thirteen times from 1869 to 1918), with the Royal Society of British Artists and the Society of Women Artists.

In Canada she exhibited with the 6th exhibition of the Art Association of Montreal. Her style reflects the teachings of John Ruskin in its realism and eyewitness quality, but her work does not fit into any single school or category. One contemporary critic thought her style and use of color were taken from the 'aboriginals'.

Her art is amazingly North American even though she only lived in Canada for twelve years and only took three major canoe trips. She continued to paint canoe scenes for fifty years after returning to England, but her work also includes portraits, landscapes of Oxfordshire, and scenes of travels to France, Holland, and South Africa.

She died in Hampstead 05 March 1919.

Catalogs of the Royal Academy exhibitions; genealogical records; the McCord Museum of Montreal; Library and Archives Canada; the catalog of the 1990 exhibition "Frances Anne Hopkins, 1838 [sic]-1919, Canadian Scenery/Le paysage canadien" by Janet Clark and Robert Stacey, published by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery; Dictionary of British Art, Volume IV; Victorian Painters, by Christopher Wood, published by the Antique Collectors Club, 1995; and many others.

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