An illustrated account of Queen Victoria's funeral proceedings, created by Canadian art icon Emily Carr, has been auctioned off to Library and Archives Canada.
A lot titled The Queen's Funeral — capturing the monarch's funeral procession in a journal of seven simply illustrated pages — was sold off at a Heffel auction in Vancouver Thursday night.
"Emily Carr is arguably one of Canada's most important artists, and this prestigious acquisition fits very well into the documentary art mandate of our institution," said Hervé Déry, Acting Librarian and Archivist of Canada, in a release.
The work by the iconic West Coast artist reveals that Carr, living in London at the time, was not the typical genteel Victorian lady.
B.C.-born Carr is known for her striking totem pole paintings and enchanting illustrations of her travels abroad. But a lesser known fact is that Carr was also a talented writer, demonstrated by the journal narrating one memorable day in London.
The journal comes from the Clarke family, which founded the publisher Clarke, Irwin and Company and released several of the artist's books. According to Heffel, the family acquired the journal directly from Carr or Carr’s estate. Though the firm never published the journal in its entirety, it did use one illustration for the first edition of Carr’s novel Growing Pains.
Queen Victoria's death
Carr made the journal when she was studying art and living at a ladies boarding house in London in 1901, the year of Queen Victoria's death.
In the booklet, she chronicles efforts she and her friend Hannah Kendall made to view the funeral procession. To commemorate their comedic activities, Carr created two booklets — one for herself and one for her friend.
Though rare, it turns out The Queen's Funeral isn't quite one of a kind but the second to come to light in recent years.
Unknown to Heffel, another journal with nearly identical drawings and inscriptions was brought to the Royal British Columbia Museum two years ago after decades on the other side of the world.
That journal belonged to Beatrice Hannah Kendal, the roommate with whom Carr spent that memorable day. Kendal gave it to her niece in Zimbabwe, who eventually brought it to Vancouver for an Emily Carr exhibit.
Making copies of paintings or illustrations wasn’t uncommon for the artist.
Despite subtle differences in the illustrations and text in the twin journals, it is virtually impossible to tell which is the original and which is the copy.