Fonds MG 554 - Hurley / Westcott Collection

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Hurley / Westcott Collection

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Reference code

MG 554

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1937-1980 (inclusive); 1971-1980 (predominant) (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

8 cm of textual records
57 photographs and slide positives

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in London, England on March 26, 1894, Robert Hurley trained as an apprentice printer-compositor before serving in the Suffolk Regiment (1917-1920). In 1923, Hurley immigrated to Canada and moved to Saskatoon in 1930. Finding himself unemployed at the age of forty during the Depression, Hurley began to paint with berry juices and a toothbrush. Largely self-taught with only a few classes from Ernest Lindner, he quickly became well known in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada for his treatment of the prairie landscape. His first showing was at a 1935 exhibition with the Manitoba Society of Artists in Winnipeg. In Saskatoon, he worked as a plant technician with the Dominion Plant Pathology Laboratory on the University of Saskatchewan campus alongside Dr. Ralph C. Russell. Hurley and Russell made many field excursions across the prairies. Hurley remained in Saskatchewan until 1963 when he retired to Victoria, British Columbia. He lived in Victoria until his death in 1980.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Jim Westcott was an undergraduate student in psychology at the University of Saskatchewan when he met Robert Hurley in 1949. It was the beginning of a friendship which continued until Hurley’s death in 1980. Wescott moved to Montreal where he earned an MA in psychology; and after briefly beginning studies for his PhD, switched disciplines and earned an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked in human relations throughout his career, eventually settling in Toronto. There, Westcott became active in promoting and selling Hurley’s artwork and came to own many pieces himself. He described himself as “an art collector, go between and the keeper of the Hurley Archives” (Novum in Libris, University of Saskatchewan Library, Spring 2009).

Custodial history

This collection contains materials created by Robert Hurley, and sent to (or, in the case of some paintings, purchased from Hurley by) Jim Westcott over the course of their friendship. The OS paintings were acquired from the Kenderdine, who acquired them from Westcott.

Scope and content

The Westcott-Hurley Collection contains many finished paintings, sketches, and experimental artworks by Hurley as well as correspondence, newspaper clippings, slides and photographs of Hurley, as well as his family, friends, and things that interested him.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


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No restrictions on access.

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Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

Russell/Walker/Hurley fonds, the Robert N. Hurley fonds, and the J.A.E Child fonds.

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