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FITZGIBBON, Agnes Dunbar Moodie

Cobourg, Ontario, 1833
Toronto, Ontario, 1913
Biography synopsis
Agnes Fitzgibbon (née Dunbar Moodie) learned to paint flower pictures from her mother Susanna Moodie. She married barrister Charles Fitzgibbon who died when she was only thirty-two, leaving her with a family to support. She decided to put together a volume of flower illustrations, with text provided by Catharine Parr Traill's lengthy manuscript. Fitzgibbon then acquired a specially prepared block of limestone from a printer, on which she drew the first of her own exquisite floral designs and printed 500 plates. While selling subscriptions for "Canadian Wild Flowers" in Ottawa, she was introduced to her future second husband, Colonel Brown Chamberlin, a lawyer, owner of the Gazette (Montreal), who was later appointed Queens Printer. Her work was shown at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition from 1864-1867. Her collection is held in the Department of Botany at the University of Toronto.
Media used
File & Archive locations
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Canadian Museum of Civilization Archives, QC
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Brock University Library, ON - James A. Gibson Library

Writings about
"Women's Canadian Historical Society." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10 Oct. 1913: 5
Alston, Sandra and Anne Dondertman. Women artists and botanical illustration in the nineteenth century: a guide to the exhibition case, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, 16 August 1993-1 October 1993. Toronto: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, 1993
Asselin, Alain, Cayouette, Jacques & Jacques Mathieu. Curieuses histoires de Plantes du Canada (tome 2). Quebec, Quebec: Septentrion, 2014
Ayre, Robert. "Botanical Congress Inspires Museum's Four-Artist Exhibit." Montreal Star 29 Aug. 1959
Beaudette, Mary Anne. "Two for the bookshelf." Kingston Whig-Standard 10 Jan. 2004: 2
Christoph Irmscher. "Nature Writing." The Cambridge Companion to Canadian Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004: 94-114
Dickenson, Victoria. First Impressions: European Views of the Natural History of Canada from the 16th to the 19th Century. Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1992
Dignam, Mary Ella. "Canadian Women in the Development of Art." Women of Canada: Their Life and Work. Toronto: National Council of Women of Canada, 1900
Gray, Charlotte. Sisters in the Wilderness: The lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill. Toronto: Viking, 1999
Gray, Charlotte. "Wild at Heart." Canadian Geographic 119.6 (Sept-Oct. 1999): 44-51
Guillet, Edwin Clarence. The Valley of the Trent. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1957
Harper, J. Russell. Early Painters and Engravers in Canada Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970
Harper, J. Russell. Painting in Canada: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966, 2nd edition 1977
Huneault, Kristina. I'm Not Myself at All: Women, Art, and Subjectivity in Canada Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018
Johnston, E. F. B. "Painting and Sculpture in Canada." Canada and Its Provinces. Toronto: Glasgow, Brook and Co, 1914
Lightstone, Susan. "Garden of Edinburgh: In a fantasy come true, Liz Kane became the owner of one of Canada's most historical gardens." Ottawa Citizen 10 Jun. 2001: C8
MacDonald, Florence. "Strickland Family Artists." Canadian Antiques Collector (Apr. 1967): 6-8
McKendry, Blake. A to Z of Canadian Art: Artists and Art Terms. Kingston: B. McKendry, 1997
McKendry, Blake. Dictionary of Folk Artists in Canada: From the 17th Century to the Present. Elginburg: Blake McKendry, 1988
Morgan, Henry James. The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography. Toronto: William Briggs, 1898
Muir, Elizabeth Gillan.. "Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts." An Unrecognized Contribution : Women and Their Work in 19th-Century Toronto. Dundurn Press, 2022. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2022
National Council of Women of Canada. Women of Canada: Their Life and Work. Montreal: National Council of Women, 1900
Needler, G. H. Otonabee Pioneers: The Story of the Stewarts, the Stricklands, the Traills and the Moodies. Toronto: Burns & MacEachern, 1953
Orwen, Patricia. "Women Made Star News: Memorial Number changed paper's status quo for a single day." Toronto Star 24 May 1992: G12
Partridge, F. G. "Stewarts and the Stricklands, the Moodies and the Traills." Ontario Library Review 40 (Aug. 1956): 179-81
Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985
Robbins, John Everett, ed. Encyclopedia Canadiana. Ottawa: Canadiana Company of Canada, Grolier Society of Canada, 1957
Sanford, M. Bourchier. "Some Woman Writers of Canada." Godey's Magazine (Jul. 1897): 13
Shteir Ann B. Flora's Fieldworkers: Women and Botany in Nineteenth-Century Canada. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022
Sigmund Samuel Canadiana Gallery. Two Gentlewomen of Upper Canada. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 1977
Tippett, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Viking, 1992
Traill, C. P. Studies of Plant Life in Canada: Wild Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Grasses. Toronto: William Briggs, 1906
Traill, Catharine Parr and Agnes Fitzgibbon. Canadian Wildflowers. Almonte: Algrove, 2003 (reprint)
Weaver, Emily. "Women of Canada: Agnes Dunbar Moodie, Artist and Botanist." Canadian Home Journal (May 1924)
Webster, John Clarence. Catalogue of the John Clarence Webster Canadiana Collection. Saint John, New Brunswick: New Brunswick Museum, 1946

Writings by
Fitzgibbon, Agnes and Catherine Parr Strickland Traill. Canadian Wild Flowers: Painted and Lithographed. Montreal: J. Lovell, 1868

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