Current Exhibitions

Nature London

December 20th, 2014 to March 29th, 2015

Interior Gallery

Stay tuned for more information!

Nature London at 150

December 20th, 2014 to March 29th, 2015

Interior Gallery

This Peregrine Falcon, Penelope, was killed accidentally in downtown London in 2007. Nature London member Peter Read secured a permit from the Ministry of Natural Resources to have her stuffed. He uses her for educational purposes. For a decade, Nature London members monitored a local Peregrine Falcon nest, aiding the young learning to fly amidst the hazards of city traffic. In recent years, the nesting pair has not been successful in producing young. Peregrine Falcon and Permit lent by Peter Read. Keith Reyonlds (left), Frances Jacobs (later Girling) (centre) and Mel Dale (seated, right), all members of Nature London, visit Goldenwing Woods in 1937. Photo Courtesy of Nature London Frances Girling observes birds through a telescope. A member of the McIlwraith Ornithological Club from 1934 to 2010, she served on the club executive and was a mentor to numerous young naturalists. Girling remembered one experience she had as a woman club member: She once saw a then-rare Red-bellied Woodpecker but her sighting was not accepted until it had been verified by a man. Photo courtesy of Nature London

Museum London is excited to present an exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of Nature London. Developed in collaboration with Nature London members David and Winifred Wake, this exhibition will explore the “who, why, what, and when” of this amazing organization.

You will meet its earliest members and discover that they learned about the insects, birds, and plants of the region not only because they loved nature, but also because they wanted to help farmers and others prosper through their economically useful scientific findings. As the times changed, the organization that became Nature London added a commitment to preservation. Its members could not and did not sit idle while urbanization and industrialization threatened species and their habitats with destruction. Over 150 years, as you will see, Nature London members have shared with others through field trips, lectures, and publications, their joy in, and enthusiasm about nature.

As well as featuring treasured objects and images held by Nature London, the exhibition will include material from the collections of Museum London, the University of Guelph, and the Departments of Botany and Zoology at the University of Western Ontario.

You are invited to the opening reception on Friday, January 30

Nature's Handmade

December 13th, 2014 to April 5th, 2015

Forum Gallery

Paul Walde (Canadian, b. England, born 1968), Improvisation: Sporangium, 1998-2002/2006 mushroom spores on primed wood panel, Gift of the Artist, 2012

The title of this exhibition re-interprets--and perhaps updates--part of a famous quote from English Restoration-era poet and critic John Dryden (1631-1700):

By viewing Nature, Nature’s handmaid, art, makes mighty things from small beginnings grow.

The natural world has been constantly envisioned by artists around the world. This has been especially true in the case of Canadian art, where the landscape has been used to assert the very identity of the country and its inhabitants. While the wilderness imagery of generations of Canadian painters is known to many, over the last half century a significant number of contemporary artists have also conceptualized nature, though in different ways, and to address a variety of aesthetic and social concerns.

Selected works bypass traditional representations of the landscape to combine aspects of the natural and man-made in engaging ways. Different materials, process, and content exemplify the back-and-forth exchange between nature and nurture. Works by Joyce Wieland, Ed Pien, Paul Walde, Spring Hurlbut and several others combine individual handiwork with elements of mass production. Found objects, even materials deemed to be detritus, resemble or mix with organic materials which "speak for themselves," or make ironic statements about artificiality and industry.

Work and Perseverance: Paintings by Women Artists

November 8th, 2014 to November 8th, 2015

Community Gallery

Viola Depew (Canadian, 1894-1992), Nicotiana, 1956, linocut on paper, Gift of the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers, 1956 Hortense Gordon (Canadian, 1887-1961), Untitled, undated, coloured pencil crayon on buff paper, Gift of Mr. Jens Thielsen, London, Ontario, 2000 Pegi Nicol MacLeod (Canadian, 1904-1949), Men on Telephone Poles, c. 1935, watercolour on paper, Gift of Mr. Richard Alway, Toronto, Ontario, 1983

Over the course of the twentieth century, the development of public art museums and galleries in Ontario (and indeed, across Canada) was spurred to a large extent by the efforts of women. They served in groups as volunteers fundraising for building and collecting, and as individual artists and benefactors who contributed to and championed cultural excellence. Many belonged to women’s artists groups, which existed in part because of female artists’ being barred from (or more generally devalued by) existing groups such as the Arts & Letters Club or Royal Canadian Academy. Selected works include longstanding favourites by regional artists Eva Bradshaw and Florence Carlyle, as well as by Yvonne McKague Housser, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, and many more. Several paintings entered the collection as gifts by women’s or female-dominated groups in this region, such as the Women’s Art Association of Canada and the Volunteer Committee of Museum London.

In the Air: Canadian Plein Air Painters

September 27th, 2014 to April 12th, 2015

Centre Gallery

Barker Fairley (Canadian, born England, 1887-1986) Sketching At Ward's Island, c. 1940 oil on board 28 x 35.4 cm Collection of Museum London; Gift of Mr. David Campbell, Toronto, Ontario, 1991 School of Tom Thomson Untitled Sketch, undated oil on wood panel 21 x 26.7 cm Collection of Museum London; Purchased with Funds from the Mitchell Bequest, 1955 Paint Mixing Box mahogany, with sliding tray, containing mixing tray 5 x 16.4 x 22 cm Collection of Museum London; Transfer from the London and Middlesex Historical Society, 1858

Artists have long painted outdoors, but by the mid-nineteenth century, working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. This trend soon took root in Canada, which already had a tradition of painting out-of-doors that was connected to military pursuits. This exhibition looks at the work of some of the nation’s best-loved plein air artists, and features important views of the London area--of the Thames River, well known edifices, early neighbourhoods, and more -- by historical and contemporary painters.

A Story of Canadian Art: As told by the Hart House Collection

September 20th, 2014 to January 4th, 2015

Moore and Volunteer Galleries

Edwin Holgate, Fire Ranger, 1926 (detail), oil on canvas, Hart House Art Collection, University of Toronto, Purchased by the Hart House Art Committee, 1925/26 Yvonne Housser, South Shore, Quebec, 1933, oil on canvas, Hart House Art Collection, University of Toronto, Donated by the Graduating Year of 1934 Arthur Lismer, Isles of Spruce, 1922. Oil on canvas, 136 x 179 x 7 cm. Hart House Art Collection, University of Toronto, Purchased by the Hart House Sketch Committee, 1927/28. Jack Humphrey, Draped Head, 1931. Oil on panel, 42.5 x 34.5 cm. Hart House Art Collection, University of Toronto. Gift of the Graduating Year of 1937. Lilias Torrance Newton, Maurice, 1939. Oil on canvas, 77 x 61.5 cm. Hart House Art Collection, University of Toronto. Purchased by the Hart House Art Committee with the Harold and Murray Wrong Memorial Fund, 1940.

This unique exhibition features highlights of Canadian art from the historic collection that was begun in at the beginning of the twentieth century by Hart House at the University of Toronto. Together for the first time in more than 30 years, A Story of Canadian Art provides audiences with an opportunity to discover a significant chapter in the formation of art and cultural history in Canada.

The selection of works will draw on the first fifty years of the collection and include among others A.Y. Jackson's Georgian Bay, November, purchased in 1922; David Milne, Waterlilies and the Sunday Paper, Temagami, 1928, donated by Vincent Massey in 1947, and Lawren Harris's Abstract (War Painting), 1943 presented by the Artist to Hart House in 1949. The exhibition also includes works by Andre Bieler, Simone Marie Bouchard, Franklin Carmichael, A.J. Casson, Paraskeva Clark, Charles Comfort, L.L. FitzGerald, Prudence Heward, Edwin Holgate, Bess Housser, Yvonne Housser, Jack Humphrey, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, Henri Masson, Kathleen Morris, Lilias Newton, George Pepper, Tom Thomson, Jacques de Tonnancour, F.H. Varley, William Weston, W.J. Wood.

Most notably, the exhibition tells us about particular critical junctures in the history of how this singular Canadian collection was built, but will also provide glimpses into the history of art in Canada has been written.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Museums Assistance Program

Fellowship and Fine Arts: Artist Associations

September 6th, 2014 to January 11th, 2015

Ivey North and Centre Galleries

Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith (Canadian, b. England, 1846-1923) The Return From School, 1884 oil on canvas Presented to the City of London by Mrs. Annie W. G. Cooper in loving memory of her husband, Albert Edward Cooper, 1940 George Theodore Berthon (Canadian, 1806-1892) Portrait of Joseph Ridout, c. 1850 oil on linen Gift of the Misses Pennington, London, Ontario, 1976, and conserved by the Canadian Conservation Institute of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Lucius O'Brien (Canadian, 1832-1899) Lake Memphremagog, 1893 watercolour on paper on paper Purchase, 1991

This historical exhibition brings together imagery and ephemera related to artist associations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in Canada in general, and in Ontario and Middlesex County in particular. Topics to be addressed include the roles of the Western Art Union and League, Royal Canadian Academy, Ontario Society of Artists, and other groups which helped promote artists in the years before increased government support of culture (1950s-60s). These associations also endorsed their own aesthetic standards in Canada for generations.

Exhibition tour: Sunday, October 19, 1:00 pm

The Peel Family: An Artistic Affair

September 6th, 2014 to January 11th, 2015

Ivey South Gallery

Paul Peel The Young Botanist, 1888-1890 oil on canvas Collection of Museum London, Purchased with the assistance of the Richard & Jean Ivey Fund, London, Ontario, 1987 Unknown Photographer, Paul Peel in his Paris Studio, 14 March 1890, Albumen silver print, Photo: National Gallery of Canada, Gift of G. Blair Laing, 1978 Paul Peel The Modest Model, 1889 oil on canvas Collection of Museum London, Gift of the Estate of Allan J. Wells with the assistance of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board, 1990, and conserved by the Canadian Conservation Institute of the Department of Canadian Heritage Frank Cooper, London, Ontario, The Peel Family, circa 1871, (front row, L to R) Clara Louise, Amelia Margaret, Alfred John, Emma Eliza (aka Daisy), John Robert Sr., Paul (back row, L to R) Frederick Augustus, Francis William (Frank), Mildred, John Robert Jr., Private Collection. Photo: National Gallery of Canada Paul Peel, Return of the Flock, 1883 oil on canvas Collection of Museum London, Gift of Richard & Beryl Ivey, London, Ontario, 1989 (89.A.35)

This exhibition brings together works and artifacts from the Peel family, which exist at the intersection of artistic and historic significance in London, Ontario, during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The environment in which Canadian painter Paul Peel grew up encouraged his bourgeoning talent, largely due to the influence of his father John Robert Peel, a leading figure in the local arts scene. Along with Charles Chapman and the Griffiths brothers, J.R. Peel was involved in several initiatives to stimulate a passion for arts in the community, including co-founding the Western School of Art and Design and organizing the first Art Loan exhibition in the city.

From a young age, Paul and his sister Mildred Peel were artistically inclined, working in both painting and sculpture. The two siblings later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in France, with such notable artists as Thomas Eakins and Benjamin Constant. Paul Peel became one of only two Canadians to win a Paris Salon medal while Mildred Peel became a successful working artist in her own right, one of the first women in Canada to complete publically-commissioned sculpture works.

Many of the works and objects in this exhibition came to Museum London through descent from the Peel family. Traces of familial artistic tendencies remain in a recently donated painting by Paul Peel’s daughter, Marguerite.

Exhibition tour and live theatre performance: Sunday, November 16, 1:00 pm

Visible Storage Project

March 2nd, 2014 to February 9th, 2016

Lawson Family Gallery

Greg Curnoe, Car, 1967, oil, metal, masonite, wood, 168 x 173 cm, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Moore, London, Ontario, through the Ontario Heritage Foundation, 1978 Jack Chambers, Daffodils, 1976, oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm, Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Moore, London, 2011 Bertram Brooker, Abstraction, Music, c. 1927, oil on canvas, 43 x 61 cm, F. B. Housser Memorial Collection, 1945 Arthur Lismer, Pine Tree And Rocks, 1921, oil on canvas, 83 x 102 cm, F. B. Housser Memorial Collection, 1945

This installation permanently displays more than 100 works of art primarily focussed on London artists but featuring many of the great works of Canadian art from our vaults. With walls devoted to the works by Paul Peel, the Group of Seven, and artists such as Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, and Paterson Ewen, Visible Storage allows you to always see old favourites from the collection as well as discover new ones.

This exhibition has been digitally enhanced. Browse images, videos and text online at

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