Wilfrid Flood
Wilfrid Flood  (1904-1946)


Watercolours Chronological
Oil Paintings Chronological
Drawing Chronological
  W.Flood Gallery Watercolours Oil Paintings Drawings
catalogue writings Memorabilia copyright notice
W. Flood 
1904 - 1946
A Summary Chronology 
The Life of Wilfrid Flood 
 from the writings of his son John (2000-03-10) 

Early Years in England: 
Wilfrid "Bill" John Flood was born in Dalston, England on 17 January 1904, the second of three children.  During his lifetime he spelled his name "Wilfrid", although his birth certificate shows his name as actually being spelled "Wilfred".  Even as a child in Clapton, England, Wilfrid won several awards for his artwork.  In 1919, at the age of 14, he won the princely sum of one pound one shilling from the London Daily Sketch.  In early 1924, 

Wilfrid applied his artistic expertise while working on an exhibit in the Wembley Room at the War Office, which was later exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition. Wilfrid attended the Bolt Court School of Art on Fleet Street in London. 

The Move to Canada: 
He immigrated to Canada in May 1924 and settled in Ottawa.  "Bill" 
worked as a draughtsman and cartographer for the National Research 
Council, Department of Mines and Resources, Gauge Laboratory. 
Wilfrid continued to develop his artistic style in such mediums as: water colour; oil paintings; portraits, charcoal, pastel; pencil drawings copper etching.  He was known to illustrate for small books and periodicals, such as "Hysteric Histories" by Drew Thompson,"Northland Trails" by Sidney Clark Ells, "The Romance of Canada" by A.L. Burt (a book used by Canadian High Schools to teach history), and contributed numerous maps and sketches to the Canadian Geographical Journal between 1936 and 1939. 

Artistic friends and Companions: 
Wilfrid was a constant companion of Henri Masson, Dr. Maurice Haycock, Capt. George Pepper, Tom Wood, David Westwood and L.H.S. Pereira.  Wilfrid also associated with the Group of Seven, including A.Y. Jackson and Frederick Varley, from whom he purchased a painting in 1938 to help Frederick, who was in dire straits at that time. During the 1930's, he painted under the tutelage of Franklin Brownell, R.C.A., and Ernest Fosbery, R.C.A.,and Frederick Varley.   According to his wife Henriette, Wilfrid and Henri were invited to join the Group of Seven, but graciously declined for unknown reasons. 

Portraits of Canadian Personages: 
During the 1930's and 1940's, Wilfrid produced many paintings, 
usually of landscapes, his first love.  However, he was also an 
outstanding portrait artist, painting such notables as Henri Masson, 
Sir William Clark (the British High Commissioner to Canada), Lawrence 
J. Burpee (first editor of the Canadian Geographical Journal), and 
Sidney Clark Ells (a noted geologist and author).  

Exhibitions during his Lifetime: 
 Wilfrid's paintings have been exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada, the 
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal 
Canadian Academy of Arts, during the Art Association of Ottawa Annual 
Spring Exhibitions, the James Wilson Galleries of Ottawa, the 
Willestead Art Gallery in Windsor, the Arnot Art Gallery in Elmira, 
New York, several local Ottawa art galleries and exhibits.In 1939, one of Wilfrid's paintings, "Storm Over Farrelton", was selected by the National Gallery of Canada to be exhibited at the New York World's Fair, one of 88 paintings by 53 Canadian artists represented, including paintings by the Group of Seven. 

Memberships and Associations: 
Wilfrid was a long-time member of the Ottawa Art Club and served as 
President from 1932-1934, and was a member of the executive 
(Secretary) of the Art Association of Ottawa from 1933 until his 
death in 1946.  He was a founding member and instructor, along with 
Henri Masson, of the Ottawa association of painters known as "Les 
Confreres du Caveau".  Wilfrid was elected to the Ontario Society of 
Artists (OSA) in 1942, and was a member of the Canadian Society of 
Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC) and the Canadian Society of Graphic 
Artists (CSGA).  Wilfrid was also a founding member and first 
Secretary of the Ottawa branch of the Federation of Canadian Artists 
(FCA) founded by Henri Masson in 1945. 

National Archives of Canada Collection: 
Five of Wilfrid's paintings are housed in the National Archives of 
Canada, three of which are portraits of Henri Masson in pastel and 
water colour, and two of Sidney Clark Ells in charcoal and pencil. 

Artistic Donations: 
In 1940, Wilfrid donated two paintings to the Committee for Refugees; 
the paintings "Maples at Maberley" and "Sunday Afternoon, Val des Bois", 
were subsequently sold at a charity auction at the National Art 
Gallery.  Their whereabouts are unknown at this time. 

An Untimely Death: 
On 28 March 1946, shortly after giving a speech to the "Wrangler's 
Club" at the Chateau Laurier, Wilfrid collapsed and died from a heart 
attack  His heart had been weakened as a child during a bout of 
rheumatic fever.  He was buried at the Notre Dame Cemetery following 
a funeral mass at St. Margaret Mary's church in Ottawa.  Canada lost 
one of her outstanding artists at the young age of 42. 

Memorial Exhibit: 
In March/April 1947, a memorial exhibit of paintings by Wilfrid Flood 
was presented at the Photographic Stores' Little Gallery on Sparks 
Street in Ottawa.  He was eulogized in the promotional pamphlet by 
Henri Masson.  At that time, many paintings were sold, and their 
whereabouts are unknown to this day, although several have been 
traced to their owners.  From that time forward, nothing has been 
publicized about his paintings, and they sat in a closet for 52 years 
until late 1998, when his wife Henriette passed away. 
The following article was written for the National Research Council's Newsletter, "The Neutron".  The date of the article is unknown. 

  "In this article, the first of a series, we wish to call attention to the fact that there are persons who possess talent in fields other than their bread-and-butter occupations.  It is true that persons with 
multiple talents are rather rare but several of these unusual people are nevertheless working right here in the National Research Laboratories.  One of these is Wilfrid (Bill) Flood, of the Gauge Laboratory, who also happens to be one of Canada's outstanding artists.
     Born in London, England, Bill Flood came to Canada in 1924.  His boyhood hobby of sketching, which he developed at the Bolt Court School of Art in London, had already reached partial maturity.  In Ottawa he pursued his studies under Franklin Brownell, R.C.A., and Ernest Fosbery, R.C.A..  Flood's unique skill and versatility with palette and brush have been recognized by layman and artist alike, and he now holds prominent membership in the Ontario Society of Artists, the Canadian Society 
of Painters in Water Colour, and the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. 

    Flood's work covers a wide range:  landscapes in water colour and oil, portraits in oil and pastel, and delightful pictographs in black and white, all reveal an artist of exceptional calibre.  Emotion and imagination are both mirrored in his paintings, but the essence of Bill Flood's work is his strength of purpose and sincerity of mind which lie exposed upon his canvases." 
Memorial Article March 1947
By W.M. Arnott  March 1947 

    The loss sustained by Canadian Art in the death of Wilfrid J. Flood is well demonstrated in the memorial exhibition of his work at the Little Gallery, 65 Sparks Street.  The exhibition opened yesterday and continues through to April 19. 

    Flood's intensely contemplative style is strongly evident in most of his water colours in which quiet grays predominate.  There are a few who view his productions who are not at once impressed by his calmness.  Masson says of Flood: "Always kind and patient" and these qualities are evident in his water colours - and, to a lesser degree, in his oils. 


    Characteristic of Flood's like for quiet colours is his "Landscape Near Farm Point", "Pines at Hazledean" and this same predilection shows in many of the paintings on exhibition.  The showing of work covers a number of years and shows very clearly the growing strength of his work;  His growing tendency to use high lights of colour and to depart, to some extent, at least, from the traditional English water colour school of which has was an adherent. 

    Perhaps nothing shows more clearly the trend of Flood's later work than his very fine "Alexandra (Interprovincial) Bridge".  It carries a vivid sense of motion, and has very definite realism, yet is dramatic in scope.  While it has the Flood hallmark of gray colouration, it is also highlighted with colour and shows clearly that Flood was launching out vigorously into a new and stronger method of interpretation. 

    That he did not disdain colour is demonstrated in "Covered Bridge, La Salette", a warmly-toned picture, full of reflected light, and carrying that fine draftsmanship that was always evident in his paintings. 

    The exhibition carries his "Tabac Canadien", "Dry Summer Corn, Blue Sea", well-known to all lovers of Flood's work.  And to those who appreciated his Northern paintings there is his "Mine Shaft at Cobalt", a painting that brings a warm glow to any who knew the "Silver Square" in the famed "Silver City". 

    "Early Morning, Northern Lake" is another water colour that reminds of lazy days spent along the Mississauga or other points where Flood loved to roam. That Flood was increasingly leaning toward brighter colours is shown in his "Haystack Near Alcove" 
in which the yellows of the stack combine pleasantly with the purple-blues of the hills, and the deeper tones of the autumn trees.  "Hayfield, Cowley Road" and "Old Pines, Mount St. Patrick" also show his careful and selective handling of colours. 


    But it is in his oils that his use of colour shows up predominantly.  "The Red Mill" should be viewed.  The vivid red of the mill building makes a most effective foil for the blue of the mill pool and the surrounding landscape.  A gem of draftsmanship, a picture full of delicacy yet replete with colour is his "Ste. Rose de Lima" and there is a small view of the same church that is delightful. 

    Other oils well worth viewing include "October, Mountain Road", "Early Spring", "August Evening" and the "Fire Station in Hull", while in the window is "The Red School, Hull" an outstanding Flood oil that shows clearly the heights toward which Flood was moving when death overtook him and quenched his genius. 
Toronto  Globe  and  Mail  1942
The Toronto Globe and Mail, 1942 

    Results of the public voting on pictures in the Graphic Arts section in the displays just closed at the Art Gallery of Toronto, are announced. 
    Most popular picture was a charcoal drawing by Wilfrid Flood, of Ottawa, called "Mile 20", depicting a railway track.  Runner-up was an entry by E. Lindner of Saskatoon.  The professionals' choice was the tempra white drawing "Sabotage," of Miller Brettain, St. John, N.B.  Two-thirds of the 950 ballots distributed were returned. 

Wilfrid Flood
Wilfrid Flood  (1904-1946)


Watercolours Chronological
Oil Paintings Chronological
Drawing Chronological
  W.Flood Gallery Watercolours Oil Paintings Drawings
catalogue writings Memorabilia copyright notice