Home > Artist Database > Bio-bibliographic Database > ADAMS, Lily Osman

Artist Database

ADAMS, Lily Osman

Toronto, Ontario, 1865
Toronto, Ontario, 1945
Biography synopsis
This painter of landscapes, still lifes and flowers studied in Toronto, New York and London under such artists as McGillivray Knowles, Birge Harrison and Stanley Forbes. In 1924, she held a joint show with fellow artist Minnie Kallmeyer and received an admiring review from "Saturday Night." Watercolour and pastel were her primary media, though she also painted in oils. She is also known for painting 18 plates with underwater designs for the Cabot Commemorative State Dinner Service, now part of the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Her work has been shown at the Royal Canadian Academy (1904-36), the Canadian National Exhibition (1907), and the Ontario Society of Artists (1903-20). The Art Gallery of Ontario owns one of her works, a pastel study of trilliums. During the 1930s, she also organized annual exhibitions of her paintings at her studio on Irwin Street.
Media used
China painting
Private study (under F. McGillivray Knowles)
Private study (under L. R. O'Brien)
Ontario College of Art & Design (formerly Ontario School of Art) (under J.W. Beatty)
Columbia University, New York (under Arthur Dow)
Art Students' League, New York (under John Carlsen)
University of Toronto (under A. R. Coleman)
St. John's Wood Art School
Ontario College of Art & Design (formerly Ontario School of Art)
Private study (under Birge Harrison)
Newlyn School of Art, Newlyn, England (under Stanley Forbes)
Women's Art Club, Toronto
File & Archive locations
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon: Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Leipzig: G. K. Saur, 1992.
"Art and Artists." Globe (Toronto) 15 Dec. 1920: 10.
"Review of Joint Show." Toronto Saturday Night (6 Dec. 1924).
"Two Toronto Women Artists..." Toronto Saturday Night 6 Dec. 1924.
“Art and Artists.” Globe (Toronto) 15 Feb. 1933.
Bradfield, Helen Pepall. Art Gallery of Ontario: The Canadian Collection. Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 1970.
Bull, William Perkins. The Perkins Bull Collection: Historical Paintings by Canadian Artists Illustrating Pioneers and Pioneering in the County of Peel. Brampton, Ontario: Printed privately, 1934.
Canadian Museum of Civilization. "This Splendid Gift: The 1897 Canadian Historical Dinner Service." Ottawa: Virtual Museum of Canada, 1999.
Cooke, W. Martha E. W. H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana: Paintings, Watercolours and Drawings, Manoir Richelieu Collection. Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1983.
Cronin, Keri. "Science on a Salad Plate: Thinking about the Representation of Natural History in the Canadian Historic Dinner Service Project 1." Natural Science in the New World: The Descriptive Enterprise 31: 1-2 (2008)
Dignam, Mary E. "Ceramic Art and the W.A.A. of Canada." Saturday Globe (Toronto) 53.14 (4 Dec. 1897).
Dyas, A.E. "Women's Work at the Exhibition." Toronto Saturday Night 7 Sept. 1912: 29, 36.
Harper, J. Russell. Early Painters and Engravers in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970.
Hughes, Margaret E. A Guide to Canadian Painters. Toronto: King's Printer, 1940.
M.E.J. "Lily O. Adams's Sketches Reveal Artistic Mind." Unknown 1936.
M.L.F. "Lily Osman Adams." Star (Toronto) Oct. 1923.
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Royal Canadian Academy of Arts/Académie royale des arts du Canada: Exhibitions and Members 1880-1979. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.
Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.
Westbridge, Anthony R. The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction. Vancouver: Westbridge Publications, 2001.

Full text pdfs of exhibition reviews
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, April 24, 1893) "Art and Artists"  Toronto Saturday Night  December 23, 1893.  p.2.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Thirteenth Annual Exhibition: (Confederation Life Bldng, March 26, 1901) "Work of Lady Artists. Exhibition of the Woman's Art Association. Choice and Attractive Studies of Life and Scenery - "Private View Day" a Great Success."  Globe and Mail (Toronto)  March 27, 1901.  p.12.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Toronto, March 1904) "Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Society is Holding Its Twenty-Fifth Annual Exhibition. Oils and Water Colours from Pictures Now Shown Will Be Selected Those For St. Louis Exposition."  Montreal Star  March 18, 1904.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Toronto, March 1904) "Royal Academy Exhibition."  Montreal Witness  March 19, 1904.  p.2.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition.: (Toronto, February 23, 1906) "Artists' Society Exhibition."  Globe (Toronto)  February 24, 1906.  p.16.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, February 22, 1908) "The Annual O. S. A. Exhibition. The Season's Pictures."  Toronto Saturday Night  February 29, 1908.  p.4.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, March 1914) Hector Charlesworth.  "Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition."  Toronto Saturday Night  March 21, 1914.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, March 01, 1917) "Many Fine Paintings at O.S.A. Exhibition."  The Globe (Toronto)  March 10, 1917.  p.21.   Full-text pdf
The Joint Annual Exhibition of the RCA and the OSA: (Toronto; Montreal (Fall), April 05, 1918) "War-time Note in Academy Pictures. Camouflaged Shipping the Subject of Some Historically Interesting Works. Standard Maintained. Painters Producing Fewer Works Evidenced by Showing Pictures Exhibited Last Spring in Toronto."  Gazette (Montreal)  November 22, 1918.  p.11.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, March 08, 1919) "O.S.A. Annual Exhibition. Colour, Vigour and Originality Chief Characteristics of the Works. Great War Records."  Globe (Toronto)  March 08, 1919.  p.8.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, March 07, 1925) Hector Charlesworth.  "Ontario Society of Artists. Brilliant Portraiture the Outstanding Feature of This Year's Show."  Toronto Saturday Night  March 14, 1925.  p.3.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, March 06, 1926) Hector Charlesworth.  "Ontario Society of Artists Present Year's Exhibition of Higher Average Quality Than for Several Years."  Toronto Saturday Night  April 03, 1926.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, November 19, 1931) "Wide Range of Art In R.C.A. Exhibition."  Gazette (Montreal)  November 20, 1931.  p.10.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, November 1932) "New Names on Roster of Artists Whose Work Academy Has Accepted. Fifty-third Annual Exhibition Royal Canadian Academy Opened- Two Hundred Canvases."  Evening Telegram (Toronto)  November 05, 1932.  p.14.   Full-text pdf

Search by: