Fonds MG 482 - Robert Newton Hurley Collection

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Robert Newton Hurley Collection

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MG 482

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Physical description

.5 m of textual documents and artwork, including 525 slides and roughly 46 photographs

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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.

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Scope and content

The 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. It also includes his diaries and “memories” or memoirs.
The Hurley Collection contains many pieces of finished and unfinished artwork by Hurley, particularly landscapes as well as other sketches and experimental works. It contains his diaries and memoirs as well as correspondence which discusses his life and his artwork.

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Immediate source of acquisition

In 1966 the University Library’s Special Collections began to acquire materials from Robert Hurley and these accruals continued until Hurley’s death. In 1991 the Library acquired a folder of correspondence from Ruther Miller, the daughter of Percy Wright (a prominent Saskatchewan horticulturist), containing letters written by Hurley and this was added to the collection. In items originally donated to the Kenderdine/University Art Collection by Dr. W.A. Follow were transferred to the University Library Special Collections.


This collection has been organized into eight series:
I. Correspondence
II. Diaries
III. Memoirs
IV. Original Sketches and Watercolours
V. Colour Slides
VI. Photographs
VII. Addresses, Newspaper Clippings, Articles
VIII. Miscellaneous
IX. Addendum

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