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Two Women - Two Perspectives - Part 2

History of a Belleville Artist - Philippa Faulkner

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History of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa Burrows Faulkner was born in Belleville on February 28, 1917. As an artist of exceptional talent we can be proud to call her a native of this City.

Her connections to Belleville run deep and she has earned her place in our history books.

We are pleased to be able to share a small part of her story.

History of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa Burrows Faulkner was born in Belleville on February 28, 1917. As an artist of exceptional talent we can be proud to call her a native of this City.

Her connections to Belleville run deep and she has earned her place in our history books.

We are pleased to be able to share a small part of her story.

Family History:1

In 1882-83 John Philpot Curran Phillips and his wife Harriet Dougall Phillips built themselves a grand home in the Second Empire style, on the corner of Bridge and Dufferin streets in Belleville.

Harriet was a descendant of the Meyers and Bleecker families, United Empire Loyalists who were founders of this city. She inherited the portion of land where they would eventually build their house. Her husband was a wealthy banker.

Family History:

In 1971 this beautiful house would be sold by their descendant Philippa Faulkner to the County of Hastings and the City of Belleville to become a museum. It is now one of Canada's timeless treasures: Glanmore National Historic Site.

Glanmore was an integral part of Philippa Faulkner's life history. Her art, like her ancestral home, is also a part of Belleville's history.                                                        

Photo of Glanmore National Historic Site, 2021

Family History:

Harriet and John Phillips had only one child: a son named Percy who died at the age of three. By the time they built Glanmore twenty years later, they were a middle-aged couple with no children.

Portrait of a child by Harriet Phillips

Harriet Phillips, Philippa Faulkner's grandmother, was an artist herself. Some of her romantic style portraits are still hanging in Glanmore today.

Family History:

How then did Harriet and John Phillips have descendants you may wonder?

In 1896 they adopted the fourteen year old daughter of a local labourer. Although they did not legally adopt her, they brought her into their home and treated her as their own child.

Jessie Maud Patterson,2 the daughter of James and Mary Hill Patterson, became Miss Jessie Phillips.

Family History:

In keeping with the tradition of their class at that time, Jessie was sent to a boarding school in Montreal: The Convent of the Holy Name of Mary.3 

After six years of schooling, she was transformed into a suitably educated young lady.

Family History:

Returning to Belleville in the early 1900's Jessie had what has been described as a lively social life. 

In 1916 Jessie (Patterson) Phillips married Belleville businessman Sandford Burrows. They had two daughters, Philippa Mary, born in 1917, and Sheila, born the following year.

The Burrows family continued their comfortable life as residents of Glanmore. 

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa and Sheila had a privileged childhood growing up in the 1920's. They had live-in servants at Glanmore, and their parents socialized with the upper crust of Belleville.

According to several accounts, their childhood was filled with parties and receptions. “Sometimes the little girls were called downstairs in their nightgowns to demonstrate the Charleston dance step to the guests”.4   

photo of Philippa Burrows

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa began creating art at a young age.5

She attended The Bishop Strachan School: a boarding school in Toronto. In 1936, at the age of 19, she won the high school senior art prize.

She then moved to New York to attend Parsons School of Fine and Applied Art.6                

Photo of Philippa Burrows 

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa Burrows graduated from Parson's in 1940 with a degree in Advertising and Design. She continued to study painting in New York and in Provincetown under Hans Hofmann.

Living in New York at that time, she would have been immersed into a new and exciting art scene, learning ideas and techniques of an art movement that would soon be known as "Abstract Expressionism".       

"Ecstasy" by Hans Hofmann, 1947

Life of a Belleville Artist:

While continuing to pursue her career as an artist, painting, sculpting and studying both in the United States and in Canada,7  Philippa also began her life as a wife and eventually as a mother.

Philippa Burrows married Dr. George Vermilyea Faulkner, a Belleville physician, in August 1946.               

Photo of the Faulkners at Glanmore 

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa and George had two children: Ann in 1952, and George Sanford (known as Sandy) in 1954.

Around this time, the Faulkner family moved into Glanmore.

Sadly, Philippa's husband George, who had survived the war as a decorated military doctor, would not live long enough to see his children grow up. In 1955 he died of a heart attack, at the age of 47.

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Soon after the death of her husband, Philippa moved to Mexico with her two young children to study at the Instituto Allende, in Mexico. She was able to study abroad for several years on a Canada Council Scholarship.

In 1968 she earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree.

Market scene, lithograph by Philippa Faulkner

Life of a Belleville Artist:

When she moved back to Belleville, Faulkner undertook extensive renovations, making much needed updates to her home.

She created and displayed her art at Glanmore, using it not only as a residence, but also as a studio space and an art gallery.

At one point she even opened her drawing rooms up to the public to display both her own work along with the work of other regional artists.8

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa continued the tradition started by her mother Jessie, of entertaining and hosting parties at Glanmore.

Friends, who knew her as Torchy (because of her red hair), have fond recollections of attending parties held at her home.9 

Greeting Card by Philippa Faulkner, 1966 

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa Faulkner was not afraid to experiment with different painting styles. She worked in oil, acrylic and collage as well as sculpture.

She wrote, "Painting is my way of telling how I feel about life in the artist's world. I do not try to solve the world's problems; I am more interested in the visually unusual."10

Photo of Philippa Faulkner 11

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Throughout her life, Philippa continued to grow as an artist, and her artwork reflects many diverse styles.

Through the years she was included in many group shows, including international exhibitions where she represented Canada.

She was also a Member of several prestigious art groups such as the Royal Canadian Acadamy, the Ontario Society of Artists and the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, just to name a few.

Life of a Belleville Artist:

In 1971 Philippa Faulkner sold Glanmore and moved to Toronto.

She prospered as an artist and art teacher. Her work was purchased by both private collectors and by corporations.

She also made money designing windows for Eatons and Simpsons.12

Philippa Faulkner drawing of sculpture proposal for Bata Corporation, c.1965  


Life of a Belleville Artist:

In a 1984 phone interview Philippa Faulkner said that she was afraid the people in the Quinte area had forgotten who she was. She had been surprised to see Glanmore discussed on a television program that never mentioned her family's connection to the Museum.13

When Philippa returned to Belleville however, she was well received and very much celebrated by her friends and followers.14

Life of a Belleville Artist:

Philippa Faulkner has not been forgotten here at the Parrott Gallery! 

Not only are we pleased to have several of her paintings in our collection, her artwork can be found in many Quinte area homes. Additionally, her artwork was purchased by corporations and private collectors in Canada and around the world.

One of her watercolours is even hanging at Windsor Castle! In 1985 her painting was selected to be part of a collection sent to Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her diamond jubilee.15

Life of a Belleville Artist:

We can be thankful that Philippa Faulkner's ancestral home is now a publicly accessible Museum, and an excellent resource for students and researchers alike.

And in turn, we are thankful that Glanmore National Historic Site has shared images with us for this online exhibition. Many of the images have come from them. 

We look forward to showcasing this artwork in person, in our upcoming in-gallery exhibition "Two Women - Two Perspectives: The artwork of Aileen Cherry and Philippa Faulkner" in the Fall of 2021.

"Each day I paint I feel I have completed some part of my destiny." - Philippa Faulkner 16

For end notes, a timeline and bibliography: follow this LINK