Home > Artist Database > Bio-bibliographic Database > MELVIN, Grace Wilson

Artist Database

MELVIN, Grace Wilson

Glasgow, Scotland, 1896
Vancover, British Columbia, 1977
Biography synopsis
At the age of fifteen Grace Wilson began studying illuminated manuscript and lettering at the Glasgow School of Art, under the guidance of Maurice Grieffenhager, Robert Anning Bell, and Caley Robinson. She graduated with honours in 1916 and remained at the Glasgow School of Art where she received a post diploma with honours in 1918. From 1919 to 1927 Melvin became the head of the lettering and illumination section in the Design Department at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1927 at the request of her brother-in-law Charles H. Scott, Melvin came to Canada to head the Department of Design at the Vancouver Art School, where she remained until 1952. She is best known for her vellum illuminations, religious scenes and altar pieces. Influenced by Art Nouveau, Melvin also painted garden, landscapes, and urban coastal scenes in watercolour, oil, and ink. During her time in Vancouver, Melvin was involved in the formation of an artists colony on Honrby Island, B.C., exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy in 1932, and had a solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1972. Her works can now be found in the collection of the Greater Victoria Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Burnaby Art Gallery, the Glenbow Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. Grace Wilson Melvin died in Vancouver in 1977.
Media used
Graphic design
Glasgow School of Art (under Charles Rennie Macintosh, Maurice Grieffenhager, Robert Anning Bell, and Caley Robinson)
File & Archive locations
Vancouver Public Library, BC - Fine Arts and History Department
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Vancouver Art Gallery, BC - Library
Winnipeg Art Gallery, MA - Clara Lander Library
London Public Library, ON
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Glasgow School of Art, UK

Writings about
Grace Melvin: Retrospective 1922-1972. Vancouver, British Columbia: Vancouver Art Gallery, 1972.
Grace Melvin: Watercolours. Vancouver, British Columbia: Vancouver Art Gallery, 1961.
"Art Show at Trail Library." Trail Times (British Columbia) 25 Jun. 1959.
"Artist and Teacher Grace Melvin Dies." Vancouver Sun 05 Mar. 1977.
"Black and White Drawings Shown." Ottawa Citizen 02 May 1944.
"Coast Artist's Work Viewed at Invermere." Nelson News (British Columbia) 20 Mar. 1961.
"Great Exhibit of B.C. Art in Gallery." Vancouver Sun 15 May, 1943.
"Illustrator of Two Books by Marius Barbeau." The Studio 138 (Dec. 1949): 197.
"Water Color Exhibition Opens in Penticton Wed." Penticton Herald 14 Jan. 1961.
Alexander, Irene. "My Recollections of Grace Melvin." Amphora 65 (1986): 14-20.
Appleton, Marion Brymner, ed. Who's Who in Northwest Art: A Directory of Persons in the Pacific Northwest Working in the Media of Painting, Sculpture, Graphic Arts, and Handicrafts. Seattle: Frank McCaffrey, 1941.
Barrows, Jennifer. The Sources, Rhetoric, and Gender of Artistic Dress. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaing, 2009.
Burkhauser, Jude. Glasgow Girls: Women in Art and Design, 1880-1920. Edinburgh, Scotland: Congate, 1990.
Canadian Library Association. Canadian Biographies: Artists and Authors. Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 1951.
Duke, David Gordon. "Both Sides of B.C.'s Ceramic Tradition." Vancouver Sun 02 Mar 2004: C1.
Godley, Elizabeth. "A Quirky Selection, but Nonetheless Pleasing." Vancouver Sun 03 Jan 1987: E5.
Harris, Paul and Julian Halsby. Dictionary of Scottish Painters 1600-1960. Edinburgh: Canongate Books Ltd, 2001.
Hill, Charles. Canadian Painting in the Thirties. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975.
Hill, June. "Object Lesson: Glasgow School of Art." Embroidery 61 (May-Jun 2010): 42-47.
Johnson, Audrey. "100 Years of B.C. Women's Art on Display." Times-Colonist (Victoria) 8 Dec. 1984: C6.
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
Palette. "In the Realm of Art: Remembrance Book Outstanding Tribute." Vancouver Daily Province 06 May, 1950.
Pearse, Harold, ed. From Drawing to Visual Culture: A History of Art Education in Canada. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007.
Scott, Michael. "Making art history: The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design is Marking its 75th Birthday by Honouring its Own." Vancouver Sun 17 June 2000: E14.
Stevens, Gail. "Calligraphy." The Canadian Encyclopedia Online 2012

Writings by
Barbeau, Marius & Grace Melvin (Illus). Dansons a la ronde: danses et jeux popularies recueillis au Canada et en Nouvelle-Angleterre Ottawa, Ontario: Ministère du nord canadien et des ressources nationales, 1963.
Barbeau, Marius & Grace Melvin (Illus). Saintes ArtisanesL I-Les Brodeuses Montreal, Quebec: Editions Fides, 1943.
Barbeau, Marius & Grace Melvin (Illus). The Indian Speaks Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, 1943.
Barbeau, Marius & Grace Wilson Melvin (Illus). Le rêve de Kamalmouk Montreal, Quebec: Fides, 1948.
Melvin, Grace. Basic Lettering for Art Students in Eight Plates London, England: Longmans, Green and Co., 1930.
Melvin, Grace Wilson. Student Manual and Workbook Vancouver, British Columbia: Wringley, 1949.
Melvin, Grace Wilson. Teacher's Manual: Containing in Full, "the Student Manual and Workbook", with a Suggested Approach Victoria, British Columbia: Dept. of Education of the Govt. of the Province of B.C, 1941.
Military Engineers Association of CAN & Grace Melvin (Illus). Royal Canadian Engineers Roll of the Dead: the World War, 1939-1945 Vancouver, Canada: Military Engineers Associaiton of Canada, 1950.

Search by: