Selected Art in My Living Room

by kipress

Six old photographs of people I don’t know. When I was researching the photographs for my book Types of Canadian Women, I was in the habit of buying old photos and photo albums at antique shops. These six are my picks from a 1930s batch of mostly seaside holiday shots: blurry and less blurry lone figures in the water, couple goofing around, family hamming it up.

Illuminated calligraphy page of Yeats’s “The Pity of Love.” I inherited this from my grandmother, who fancied herself a Yeats scholar (judging by the number of books on the subject in her library), and made many trips to Ireland. I have no doubt she picked this up there as a souvenir.

A large Camille Corot print. It’s one of his green leafy poetic pastorals, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in 91 pages of Google Image results. It’s got a distant bridge on the left, and two figures on a path leading up to a great big tree on the right. We found this print in the basement of my husband’s grandparents’ house, and he recognized that it had belonged to his mom, and she somehow left it behind when she moved from Winnipeg. So we took it home.


A small letterpress woodcut which I acquired when I used to subscribe to The Devil’s Artisan, the “Journal of the Printing Arts” published over at Porcupine’s Quill. Each issue comes with a small print. I’ve separated it from its title and information. It depicts a tree.


Limited edition print depicting St. Joseph’s College, University of Alberta. This was produced for some anniversary fundraiser I’m sure, and my dad, who went to St. Joe’s, bought one, and I inherited it. It’s the Catholic college at the U of A. Incidentally, he went there at the same time as former Prime Minister Joe Clark, about whom he said unenlighteningly, “He talked about politics a lot.” Further to my dad’s time at St. Joe’s, he had this story. The conversation went something like this.

“There was Engineering Week. Do the engineers still have that? And the engineers, on the Engineering Building, had this big balloon, I’m not sure what it was supposed to be, but something inflatable, on the roof. You could see it from some of our dorm rooms. One year, someone shot it and it deflated. Everyone wanted to find who shot the balloon.  And when I went up to my room, I found that my gun was missing and—“

“Wait, wait. Did you say your gun was missing? Why on earth did you have a gun in your dorm room?”

“Well, you never know when you might want to go hunting.”

“I see.”

“The next day, the gun was back.”