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 Charles MacDonald Manly  (1855 - 1924)

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Lived/Active: Canada      Known for: painting, drawing, printmaking, illustration, commercial art, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
Charles MacDonald Manly
from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles MacDonald Manly ARCA, OSA (1855 - 1924)

A prominent Canadian painter, draftsman, printmaker, illustrator, commercial artist, educator and leader in the art community, Charles MacDonald Manly was born in Englefield Green, Surrey, England and died in Toronto, Ontario where he had lived since about 1866. He was the President of the Ontario Society of Artists* and a long time teacher at the Ontario School of Art*. His life and work are discussed in numerous comprehensive books about Canadian art and his paintings, drawings and prints are in several museum collections including the National Gallery of Canada. (1)

Manly's mediums included oils, watercolors, gouache*, pastel, charcoal, pen & ink, pencil, colored pencil, drypoint*, lithography* and mixed mediums. His subjects included landscapes, figures, genre*, rivers, street scenes, villages, shorelines, harbors, flowers, rural activity, historic sites and architecture. The locations included Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, England and Ireland. His style was Realism*. AskART Images have some excellent illustrations of his oeuvre. 

He studied at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, London, England (1878 - 1879); and at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art [now National College of Art and Design], Dublin, Ireland (1881 - 1884), under Robert Edwin Lyne (1828 - 1889). (2)

Manly was a founder and teacher at the Toronto Art Students' League (from 1886) and a teacher at the Ontario College of Art* (c.late 1890s - 1924). Two of his most famous students were Carl Schaefer and C.W. Jefferys.

In addition to founding the Toronto Art Students' League (1886) he was also a founder of the Graphic Arts Club (1904). He was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists* (1876) and its President (1902 - 1905); an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1890); a member of the Mahlstick Club* (1902); and a member of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto (1908).

He exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists* (1872 - 1924); the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1888 - 1922); the Art Association of Montreal* (1889 - 1922); and with the Toronto Art Students' League (1899). His works were also shown at the "Pan American Exposition", Buffalo, New York (1901) and at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto (1903 and 1908). Posthumously, his works were shown in a memorial exhibition for him at the T. Eaton Company, Toronto (1924); at an Ontario Society of Artists 75th Anniversary Exhibition (1947); at a solo show titled "C.M. Manly A.R.C.A., 1855 - 1924", Cobourg Art Gallery [now Art Gallery of Northumberland], Cobourg, Ontario (1973); in "Historical Views of Guelph", Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario (2002); and in "Non Clamor Sed Amor: The Toronto Art Students' League Calendars, 1893 - 1904", National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2008). (3)

Examples of Manly's work as an illustrator can be seen in the books Spinning Wheels and Homespun (1923), by Helen E. Williams and The Turn of the Year (1923), by Frederick Philip Grove (see both in AskART book references); and in the calendars of the Toronto Art Students' League. (4)

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, Manly's works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of Windsor (Ontario), The Market Gallery (Toronto), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

Manly's awards include an Honorable Mention at the Pan American Exposition (1901) and the Jessie Dow Prize* at the Art Association of Montreal* Spring Exhibition (1911).

(1) Researchers please note: The date of Manly's arrival in Canada varies throughout our sources, the earliest is 1866, it is found in Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts and the most frequent date used is 1870; however, many sources only note that Manly was in Toronto by 1876.

(2) Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography and its footnotes, except those with life-dates after their names, have their own records in AskART.

(3) The Latin phrase Non clamor sed amor - "Not loudness but love" - attributed to various ancient poets, was famously the motto of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. However, the phrase was also printed on the back page, and frequently embedded in the cover design, of the annual Toronto Art Students' League calendars to which Manly contributed many drawings. Sources: Longfellow House - Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site, National Park Service (website); and Internet Archive (website).

(4) The Internet Archive link below contains sub-links to microfilm copies of 9 years of the Toronto Art Students' League calendars which can be viewed online. They all appear to contain C.M. Manly illustrations; however the signature on a few is illegible. Internet Archive link:

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

A to Z of Canadian Art: artists & art terms (1997), by Blake McKendry (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Canadian Who's Who: Index 1898 - 1984 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880 - 1970 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

The Canadian Encyclopedia Second Edition (1988), edited by James H. Marsh (see AskART book references) [see printmaking]

The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985), edited by James H. Marsh (see AskART book references) [see Manly]

Toronto in Art: 150 Years through Artist's Eyes (1983), edited by Edith G. Firth (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 - 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 - 1980 (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography (1978), edited by W. A. McKay (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists: Volume 4, Little - Myles (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)

Early Painters and Engravers in Canada (1970), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario - The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art - Its Origin and Development (1943) (paperback 1967), by William Colgate (see AskART book references)

Painting in Canada: a history (1966), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references)

The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Volume III (1960), by R.H. Hubbard (see AskART book references)

The National Gallery of Canada Catalogue (1931), by National Gallery of Canada (see AskART book references)

The Fine Arts in Canada (1925), by Newton MacTavish (see AskART book references)

Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (1912), edited by Henry James Morgan (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (OSA exhibitions)

Internet Archive (website)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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