Walter J. Phillips Biography

Summer Camp, Bishop's School, 1909, watercolour (Private Collection).

Summer Camp, Bishop’s School, 1909, watercolour (Private Collection).

Walter Phillips lived in South Africa for about 5 years, during which time he worked at a variety of occupations. He had originally hoped to make enough money in South Africa to allow him to pursue his artistic training in Paris, but this was not the case. He returned to England in the late summer of 1907 and worked as a commercial artist in Manchester, and later moved to London. There he met another artist, Ernest S. Carlos. In 1908, Phillips obtained the position of Art Master at the Bishop’s School in Salisbury. It was there that he met Gladys Pitcher, a student at the school, whom he later married in December of 1910. He continued to sketch the southern English countryside with his friend Ernest Carlos at every opportunity, and his growing expertise was soon rewarded when one of his works was shown at the Royal Academy in 1912. Phillips held two exhibitions in Salisbury in 1911 and 1912. By then, he and Gladys had decided to emigrate to Canada, where two of his cousins were living. Their respective addresses in Toronto and Vancouver suggested to the young couple that some place in between might be appropriate, and they chose Winnipeg, Manitoba, as their destination after consulting a map of Canada.

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