ROBERT REGINALD WHALE, O.S.A., A.R.C.A.
PORTRAIT OF ELLEN WHALE (THE ARTIST’S DAUGHTER)
oil on canvas, laid down on board
27 ins x 21 ins; 68.6 cms x 53.3 cms
A native of Cornwall, Robert Reginald Whale’s greatest influence was Sir Joshua Reynolds whose pictures he studied on trips up to London prior to emigrating to Canada. Whale became one of Southern Ontario’s earliest professional artists. Together with his brother and sons, the Whale family of painters exhibited widely, winning enough prizes and awards to cause friction among other professional painters of the day. While it was for his panoramic views that Whale is best-remembered, this quiet portrait of a young girl - his daughter - clasping a posy, is equally unforgettable.
Whale married Ellen Heard Whale and together they had six children including the subject of this painting, Ellen Whale (Catton) who was born in 1836.
J. Russell Harper, Painting in Canada: A History, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1969, page 334.
Anne Newlands, Canadian Art From Its Beginnings to 2000, Firefly Books Ltd., Toronto, 2000, page 334.
Collection of the artist (by descent to the present owner)