Biography of William POPE

William Pope by W.E. Cantelon, c. 1890



Born in 1811 in Maidstone, Kent, England, an amateur naturalist, William Pope was educated there and at Sevenoaks, Kent. He visited Canada in 1834. On his way to Toronto on the steamboat Queeston he made notes in his diary on the ducks and other water birds he saw on Lake Ontario and continued to make notes during his continued travels in southwestern Ontario. By 1847 he completed nearly 100 paintings the returned to England but was back in Canada in 1859 and settled permanently for nearly 40 years on a farm on the shores of Lake Erie at Port Ryerse, Norfolk County, Ontario. His work compares favourably with the work of John James Audubon. He died in Port Ryerse in 1902.



Pope painted birds.



He did many water colour paintings combined with pen and ink, of birds and wildlife using the pen for detail for bird plumage or hairs of animals. He also did the occasional landscape.



In 1917 John Ross Robertson, Publisher of the Telegram purchased 226 framed water colours by Pope which he presented to the Toronto Public Library. Subsequently the Library acquired another 52 water colours of birds attributed to Pope.

In 1977 Harry Barrett’s book The 19th Century Journals and Paintings of William Pope was published by M. F. Feheley with introduction by noted Canadian wildlife artist, J. Fenwick Landsdowne.


Source: Colin S. MacDonald, « Pope, William », dans A dictionnary of Canadian Artists, volume 6, Canadian Paperbacks, 1986, p. 1774

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