Anthony J. Batten

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NEW BRUNSWICK PAINTING TRIP
“Hillcrest” is the former summer home of Charles Hosmer one of the principal backers of Montreal’s legendary Ritz-Carlton Hotel and one of the Canadian hosts of The Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, during his 1919 North American tour.
THE CANADIAN SOCIETY OF PAINTERS IN WATER COLOUR / la societe canadienne de peintres en aquarelle • December 2012

In September CSPWC members Heidi Burkhardt, Tony Batten, Maurice Snelgrove, and artist Kim Atkins, along with Maurice’s wife Sheila, took off on a two week painting trip that would focus on the area surrounding the historic community of St Andrew’s, New Brunswick. The town sits immediately north of the coastal USA-Canada border and is known affectionately as St Andrews on Sea. Long famed for its Edwardian era summer homes and its “Gilded Age” connections it is a very active coastal community with enormous historic interest. For any artist it is the unique combination of beautiful and varied architecture and magnificent coastal scenery that is the big draw.
Left to right: Kim Atkins, Tony Batten, Heidi Burkhardt and Maurice Snelgrove

Invited to stay as house-guests in the home of a long time friend of Tony’s the gang was stunned to find that their home base was a local landmark. “Hillcrest” is the former summer home of Charles Hosmer one of the principal backers of Montreal’s legendary Ritz-Carlton Hotel and one of the Canadian hosts of The Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, during his 1919 North American tour. Now a beautifully preserved andpresented private home Hillcrest’s living room is famed as the setting for Irving Berlin’s eventual proposal to his beloved wife. The Boyles, the current owners of the house, gave their artist guests the run of the place and even turned over a rustic tool shed as a studio space on the day that rain interfered with any hope of plein-air work. A highlight of the stay was being invited to several “verandah parties” that were hosted in other Golden Age “cottages” in the area. Those hosts were in turn invited to a “verandah sale” of work by the visiting artists and everyone on the trip had work snapped up by both Canadian and American collectors.

While they were in the area they took painting and sketching trips to neighbouring Minister’s Island long famed for its associations with Sir William Van Horne and to the unique Campobello Island International Historic Site. In keeping with their own accommodations they were able to tour the historic Roosevelt family cottage - with its eighteen or so bedrooms - and its long association with FDR. The two weeks sped by in a productive blur of painting, sketching, photographing and socializing in the most beautiful settings imaginable.

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