Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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John Francis Bursill

c1849 - February 5, 1928

Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver (Member 1908)
B.C. Society of Fine Arts
Bursill Institute free library (Founder, c1910)
Vagabonds Club (Co-founder 1915)
Shakespeare Society (Founder, 1916)
Dickens Fellowship, Vancouver Chapter (Founder & 1st President 1920)
B.C. Art League (Charter Member, Organizing committee 1920)
Vancouver Archery Society

John Francis Bursill was an English journalist from Fleet Street, who arrived in Vancouver in 1908. Over the years he wrote newspaper columns for a number of publications including:
     Saturday Sunset
     South Vancouver Chinook
     Vancouver World ("Window")
     Vancouver Sunday Sun ("Felix Penne's Column")
     Vancouver Sun (daily)
     Western Idea

He was the father of F. Noel Bursill.

In 1917 he provided four paintings to the Loan Collection of the Eleventh Exhibition of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts.

Bursill gave four lectures sponsored by the Vancouver Institute:
      Shakespeare on the Stage, January 9 1919
      The London of Charles Dickens, March 13 1924
      The Evolution of the Shakespearean Drama, February 18 1926
      London in the Time of Dickens, December 17 1926

He was involved in the foundation of the B.C. Art League, appointed to both the Organization and Publicity committees in 1920.

According to B.C. Vital Statistics on-line he died in Burnaby in 1928 at the age of 79.




      1918, Christmas. Published by the Amputation Club of B.C., Vancouver
      216 pages (including text, advertisements and photographs)
      Heavily illustrated by many early Vancouver artists, including Bursill.

      BRITISH COLUMBIA LIBRARY QUARTERLY; July 1968, various authors
      Extensive biography of Bursill, numerous references to the group & its members.


"The committees which will be recommended to the League were named as follows: ... J. Francis Bursill ..."
      From "B.C. Art League Committees Are Active" by (unknown)
      Western Woman's Weekly, October 9, 1920

"In May, 1908, a new member was introduced in the person of Mr. J. Francis Bursill, better known in this city as "Felix Penne," the columnist of the Vancouver "Daily Sun." In November of the same year, in conjunction with Mr. De Forest, he produced a "Guide and Handbook" to the Museum, for which his son, Mr. Noel Bursill, designed a cover. A reproduction of this was used in the "Museum Notes" for February. Copies of this guide are scarce to-day. The fate of many of the copies was tragic. Mr. Bursill relates how he brought 250 copies of the Guide to the Museum, only to find that the place was closed. Crossing the road to a baker's shop he asked the youth in charge if he could leave the heavy parcel there to be called for later. Permission was given and he returned early next morning to find the boy gone and the proprietor in charge. To the inquiry for the parcel, he returned the surly reply that he had just "chucked it in the furnace!"
      "History of the A.H.S.A.V.-Biographical: Founders & Members"
      Museum Notes, Vol. 1, No. 2 June 1926

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