A. Y. Jackson, "Foreword" in Blodwen Davies, Tom Thomson: The Story of A Man Who Looked For Beauty and for Truth in the Wilderness, 1967

FIFTY YEARS have gone by since Tom Thomson lost his life in Algonquin Park in 1917. His loss passed almost unrecorded. To a few friends he was an artist of very unusual talent but almost unknown to the general public or to critics or connoisseurs of art.

Blodwen Davies’ book on Tom Thomson, still our most complete biography of the artist, was written in the early thirties, type being set up by the author, with the assistance of Frank Carmichael. She could not find a publisher and sold most of the one hundred copies through friends. The book gives us considerable information about Thomson, and his family history of which otherwise we would have no record. Shortly before she died, Blodwen Davies wrote and asked me to help her have the book republished and brought up to date […]

Apart from Blodwen Davies’ book, there was published in 1938 a small book by A. H. Robson, a brief account of Thomson’s life. It was in The Canadian Artists Series, and has been long out of print.

In 1962, the Gallery of Canadian Art published a 30-page book by Dr. Robert Hubbard, “Tom Thomson”, with many illustrations. Blodwen Davies’ book was the first book printed, but with no publicity it remained almost unknown. At a price of five dollars, it seemed prohibitively expensive in 1935!

Tom Thomson is so well known today that he has become an heroic figure in the story of Art in Canada. He has been described as the founder of the Group of Seven and the instigator of the movement to the North Country.


After Thomson was drowned in 1917, we had not the heart to go back to Algonquin Park, so moved to Algoma and Lake Superior, and then to the Arctic, Yukon, Labrador, and other parts of the country. Today, going North, experienced by thousands of people, is no longer a great adventure.


Source: A. Y. Jackson, ""Foreword," in Tom Thomson: The Story of a Man..." in Tom Thomson: The Story of A Man Who Looked For Beauty and for Truth in the Wilderness, (Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1967). Notes: "A revised memorial edition of the [1935] limited and privately printed first volume by the author, the late Miss Blodwen Davies." The foreword is unique to the 1967 edition

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