Art & Artists in Exhibition: Vancouver 1890 - 1950
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"Mr. Thos. W. Fripp"

A short autobiography in "Museum Notes", Vol. II, No. 1, February, 1927

    Born March 23rd, 1864, in London England.

    Youngest son of George A. Fripp, R.W.S., an old member of the Royal Society of Painter in Water Colours, and having an uncle and a brother also members of that Society, I was brought up in an atmosphere of art, and I suppose it was but natural that I in turn desired to try my hand at art.

    Travelling through Switzerland, Austrian Tyrol, and a short visit to Paris, I, as a boy, in company with my mother, stayed many months in Florence and returned to England fully determined to study painting. After several years of study at the St. John's Wood Art School, and elsewhere, I visited Italy once more, spending the greater part of a year studying painting there. Becoming a student at the Royal Academy in 1887, I continued my art training over two years in that Academic Nursery. Feeling the call of the water colour medium, I studied landscape painting under my father.

    In 1893 I went to Canada, settling on the West Coast. For some years I lived in the forests of British Columbia, clearing land, farming, and living an out-door life until, receiving injuries whilst working on the land, I returned to my painting and studied the wonderful mountain scenery of this country. In such a new country the life of an artist was not easy - from time to time other work had to be done to help things along. Exhibiting at the Royal Canadian Academy in Montreal, Toronto, and elsewhere, I have devoted the last 23 years to the painting of this country, and carrying on pioneer work in Arts and Crafts. I was one of the founders of the British Columbia Fine Arts Society, and am at present President. Examples of my work have been purchased by several of the Provincial Governments of Canada and by private collectors in Canada, the United States and in Great Britain.

    Here, in British Columbia, the most western part of America, an artist trained in the schools of Europe, and with a vision influenced by the latest fads and fancies, finds himself in a veritable Terra Nova - "isms" and "ists" are of little value. Here it is nature in its primeval state - no picturesque chalets, no castles or ancient architecture. It is pure and wild nature. To approach the spirit of such surroundings, a fresh vision is needed. The appeal is different; added to the grandeur of the Alps there is wildness and primitive savagery that grips the heart of the traveller. Among the mountain peaks, after passing through the vast forest that fills the valleys and clothes the lower slopes, one passes to the glaciers with their snow-clad peaks towering above, and there one meets a feeling of defiance and resentment that only, after years of acquaintance and study, yields to that spirit of invitation that calls on the true artist who at last understand thems - by which time "schools", "ists", and "isms" are forgotten.

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