Walter J. Phillips: A Chronology

1884 Born at Barton-on-Humber, 25 October; family later moves to Barton-on-Trent where Walter eventually attends evening classes in art; various family moves.
1898 Walter sent to Bourne College, a boarding school near Birmingham; attends art classes at the Municipal College of Art in Birmingham, under R. Taylor (1899).
1902-03 Goes to South Africa, works as an assistant in country schools; then as a surveyor’s assistant, a lawyer’s clerk, and as a reporter for the Diamond Fields Advisor.
1907 Returns to England, works as a commercial artist in Manchester; goes to London; meets Ernest S. Carlos with whom he goes on sketching trips in the South of England.
1908 Obtains a position of Art Master at Bishop’s School in Salisbury; marries Gladys Pitcher (1910) one of his students; first one-man exhibition at the school in 1911.
1912 Newlyn Seascape exhibited at Royal Academy in London.
1913 Exhibits for the last time in Salisbury; decides to emigrate to Canada, selects Winnipeg; arrives in Winnipeg on June 8; eventually secures teaching position at St. John’s Technical School.
1914 Meets another British artist, Cyril H. Barraud; rents a cottage at Lake of the Woods for the first time.
1915 Learns to etch from Barraud, buys press when Barraud leaves for the War; executes first etchings.
1916 National Gallery of Canada purchases two etchings.
1917 Teaches at Madison, Wisconsin in the summer; begins to experiment with colour woodcut technique; produces his first woodcut.
1919 Phillips’ woodcuts discussed and reproduced in The International Studio; trip aboard the Wolverine on Lake Winnipeg.
1920 National Gallery of Canada purchases a series of colour woodcuts by Phillips.
1921 Becomes an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy.
1924 Phillips decides to move back to England with his family; three month stay at Muskoka on Big Island; sails for England in September; meets William Giles.
1925 Meets Yoshijiro Urushibara who teaches him how to size paper; returns to Canada; another stay at Muskoka, before returning to Winnipeg; teaches at St. John’s Tech for another year; also teaches at the Phillips-Musgrove School of Art (which lasts a year).
1926 Writes The Technique of the Colour Woodcut which is published; begins a regular column called “Art and Artists” in The Winnipeg Tribune; first trip to Rocky Mountains with Tom MacLean and Eric Bergman.
1927 First trip to the West Coast; visits Alert Bay and other Siwash and Kwakiutl villages; first portfolio appears, Ten Canadian Color Prints, in an edition of 250.
1928 Second portfolio published, The Canadian Scene; concentrates on the Manitoba prairie as his subject matter.
1929 Sketching trip through Manitoba with Alex Musgrove; last summer stay with the family at Lake of the Woods.
1930 Produces first portfolio of wood engravings, An Essay in Woodcuts; York Boat on Lake Winnipeg woodcut.
1931 Fourth portfolio appears, Ten Woodcuts; illustrates Dreams of Fort Garry.
1932 Spends one month sketching on the West Coast.
1933 Full member of Royal Canadian Academy.
1936 Fifth portfolio appears, Winter Woodcuts.
1940 Asked to be an instructor at the Banff Summer School, the first of 20 summers.
1941 Moves to Calgary in the fall. Also teaches at Coste House.
1942 Paints Dawn, Edmonton Airport (EAG Collection).
1946 Phillips decides to build a home in Banff which will only be ready in the fall of 1948, when he moves to Banff.
1947 A monograph on Phillips by Duncan Campbell Scott is published.
1953 Trouble with eyesight begins.
1954 Commissioned to paint murals in CPR Strathcona Park car.
1959 First eye operation in Winnipeg.
1960 Honorary Doctorate from the University of Alberta; moves to Victoria in December.
1961 Phillips is totally blind.
1963 Dies in Victoria, after a lengthy illness; ashes spread in the Rocky Mountains.