MANLY EDWARD MACDONALD, R.C.A.
HAULING WATER, BAY OF QUINTE
oil on canvas
signed; titled on the reverse
20 ins x 24 ins; 50.8 cms x 61 cms
While maintaining a studio in Toronto, Manly MacDonald frequently returned to the Bay of Quinte, south of Belleville, Ontario, where his parents had settled upon emigrating from the Island of Skye. Hauling Water, Bay of Quinte illustrates MacDonald’s romantic conception of rural Ontario, whose sleepy hamlets and hardworking people he interpreted throughout his career. The painting also shows the strong influence of the European Academism that the artist observed overseas, particularly during his sojourn of 1920-1922, when he was awarded an R.C.A. scholarship to work in France, Spain and Italy. He was accompanied on this trip by his wife and young daughter.
MacDonald created a loose version of Hauling Water around 1935 (Watering Horses in Lake Ontario), and the design was selected by the Toronto-based firm Scythes & Company for inclusion in its 1936 calendar. The caption in the calendar read "Hauling Water on the Bay of Quinte, 1936," with the note "It is our policy to produce each year an exclusive calendar, featuring the work of Canadian artists. In pursuance of this policy we have purchased the original of this picture, Hauling Water by Manly MacDonald, A.R.C.A."
Hauling Water beautifully emulates the Old Ontario that inspired MacDonald to return year after year to the Bay of Quinte. As Valerie Conde wrote, it is his "charm of colour" that enabled him to "catch an essentially Canadian flavour." Indeed, MacDonald's work represented Canada on several important occasions, such as the New York World's Fair in 1939 and when his picture of Toronto's skyline was presented to Queen Elizabeth during her Canadian tour of 1959. Today, MacDonald's work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, among others.
Valerie Conde in Colin S. MacDonald, A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, 3rd edition, Canadian Paperbacks, Ottawa, 1975, page 998.
Charles Beale, Manly Edward MacDonald: Interpreter of Old Ontario, Plumley Press, Napanee, 2010, page 37.
Private Collection, Ontario