A two year research project delving into the work of Caroline Louisa Daly has resulted in a new exhibition of historic watercolours opening January 14, as well as the revised attribution of the works themselves.
Caroline Louisa Daly (1836-1893) was the daughter of former P.E.I. Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Dominick Daly (L.G. 1854-1859). The younger Daly travelled around the world with her father on his various appointments in the British colonial administration. Born in Lower Canada in 1832, she travelled to England, P.E.I., and Australia – trips that inspired her work – before marrying and settling in Bournemouth, Dorset, where she spent the remainder of her life.
Presented by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Introducing Caroline Louisa Daly is the result of two years of research conducted by Paige Matthie, gallery registrar and exhibition curator. Matthie’s exploration confirmed that the previously held attribution of art works to both Charles L. Daly, a Clerk for the City of Toronto and art instructor, and John Corry Wilson Daly, a merchant and politician of Stratford, Ontario – neither of any relation – were both incorrect, and that the true artist is Caroline Louisa Daly.
Matthie’s research around the works in question focused on two areas: biographical examination of the persons related to the study to place them in geography at specific times in history, and an inspection of the works themselves for signatures, inscriptions, and the general style of the work. “Once you sit down and look at the works and compare them to the works in other collections – both the family’s and those held by Library and Archives Canada – it becomes clear that we’ve been in error for quite some time,” remarks Matthie.
The exhibition features six works from the Gallery’s permanent collection; samples from Library and Archives Canada and the Public Archives and Records Office of P.E.I.; as well as six previously unseen works recently donated to the collection by Richard Jenkins, the great grandson of Caroline Louisa Daly.
“Caroline Louisa Daly was not a professional artist in the way we understand today, yet she upheld a consistent artistic practice throughout her life, sketching and painting the subjects of her daily life, as well as looking to other artists for inspiration,” offers Matthie.
“Though she was privileged to travel the world with her family, as a Victorian woman, she would have still been limited in her access to different landscapes and subjects,” she continues. “It is wonderful that Daly seized opportunities to try new things with her work, painting the interior of her ship’s cabin on the voyage to Australia, or copying the work of male artists who were able to go into the wilderness to capture the sublime beauty of Canada.”
Introducing Caroline Louisa Daly opens January 14 in the Young People’s Gallery and will be on exhibit until May 7, 2017. The Gallery’s winter hours for visitation are Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m.