Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
Alec H. Dalgleish
1907 - June 26 1934
Alec Dalgleish was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1907. He moved to
Vancouver with his family in November 1925. Dalgleish soon afterwards
became a noted young mountaineer in B.C., with a large number of climbs (77)
and first ascents (17) in B.C.'s coast range of mountains. He also worked
for the telephone company, for a while in the Chilliwack Central Office.
Photography was a major interest of his, and it was noted that he had taken
at least 1,300 photographs of his climbing expeditions. A number of them
were later published in the book In The Western Mountains (see references).
On January 4, 1932 Dalgleish gave a lecture for the Vancouver Institute
at UBC titled "Prospector's Valley Camp."
He studied at the B.C. College of Art
Ltd. under Varley and
Macdonald from 1932-34. In August 1933 he traveled
with Jack Shadbolt and Jim Pollock by car through
the United States to see the Chicago World's Fair. Dalgleish went to Toronto
before returning to Vancouver for the 1933-34 school year at the College of Art,
which he completed with honors. At the end of the 1934 school year he joined
Paul Goranson and James Dickie
in a commercial art studio. He also photographed student work for the College of
Art's illustrated 1934-35 prospectus.
In the summer of 1934 Dalgleish attempted a climb of Mount Waddington, B.C.'s
highest mountain peak. He died during the attempt, and was buried on the mountain
where he fell. A memorial cairn was built for him at Icefall Point. He died at
age 27, place of death officially listed as Knight Inlet.
J.W.G. Macdonald, his teacher and friend, wrote a
tribute to Dalgleish that was published in the
Images shown are all courtesy of Judith
Copithorne, visual poet, who is Dalgleish's niece. The family has a large
collection of original art, photographs, and ephemera from Dalgleish which
remains a permanent record of this excellent artist and photographer. It is
unfortunate that his work is not more widely known.
Although Macdonald suggested in his tribute to Dalgleish that one of the
peaks of Mt. Waddington be renamed in the climber's honour, it was Julian
Peak that ended up being renamed Mt. Dalgleish.
Editor's note: there are some interesting parallels between Dalgleish and
the Editor. I worked for the telephone company for four years, including a
stint in the Chilliwack Central Office where Dalgleish had worked many years
before. I was also a climber, and successfully climbed Mt. Waddington -
where Dalgleish died - with a Capilano College expedition in 1976. Dalgleish
loved to draw in pen and ink, and I have the same affliction.
1934 Biography by Amy Dalgleish (sister), unpublished.
1934 B.C. College of Arts Ltd. Prospectus (photography by Dalgleish).
Canadian Alpine Journal, Volume XXII, page 46 (Waddington climb), page 197 (biography).
IN THE WESTERN MOUNTAINS - Early Mountaineering in British Columbia
1980; 74 pages illustrated in black and white; no ISBN
Compiled and editied by Susan Leslie; Sound Heritage Vol VIII, No. 4
Published by the Aural History Program, Provincial Archives of B.C.
Includes account of Waddington climb and death of Alec Dalgleish
Numerous photographs by Dalgleish reproduced in the publication.
Vancouver Institute Lectures: Speakers and Lecture Topics 1916 - present
University of British Columbia Library web site.
"Paul Gorenson (sic), Orville
Fisher, James Dickie and Alec Dalgleish
are the lucky students who have sold their work."
From "In The Domain of Art"
Vancouver Province, February 10 1934
"With the recent tragic death of Alec Dalgleish, British
Columbia has lost one of its most promising artists. (continues)"
By J.W.G. Macdonald, from "(tribute to Alec Dalgleish)"
Vancouver Province, July 7 1934