CI 25 – The House of All Sorts by Emily Carr

The House of All Sorts by Emily Carr (Clarke Irwin Canadian Paperback 25) front coverThe House of All Sorts

From the Back Cover:


The House of All Sorts is the story of Emily Carr’s experiences as a landlady in her native city of Victoria. When, in 1913, Miss Carr gave up teaching art, she built an apartment house on property that had belonged to her father. She hoped that she would be able to realize enough from rents to support her so that she could devote herself to her painting. Unfortunately, the advent of war and a consequent slump in real estate returns made it necessary for the artist to spend much of her time caretaking and catering to the whims of her tenants. Never one to suffer fools gladly, she was bitterly unhappy during this period of more than twenty years. Moreover, she was forced to supplement her rental income by making pottery, hooking rugs, and raising sheep-dogs, which left her very little time for the painting that was the essence of her being. Only her animals and the pleasure of an occasional sketching trip to the woods alleviated her misery. In a separate section of this book she pays tribute to her sheep-dogs and paints unforgettable pen portraits of some of the stalwarts of her kennel.


Emily Carr, generally considered Canada’s most famous woman painter, was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1871, the second youngest child of a well-to-do merchant. She studied art in San Francisco, in England, and in France where she was influenced by the work of the impressionists. She taught art in Vancouver and Victoria but was discouraged by the cool reception accorded her work there. In 1927 she went East to attend a show of West Coast art and there she met the Group of Seven, an encounter which revitalized her vision and started her off on the most creative period of her career. Gradually her reputation grew and at the time of her death in 1945 she was generally recognized as one of Canada’s major artists.

By then Emily Carr was known also as a successful writer. She had turned to writing when failing health had forced her to curtail her sketching activities. Her first book, Klee Wyck, was an instant success and won a Governor General’s award. Her six succeeding books have reinforced her reputation as a stylist with a rare gift for original and picturesque expression.

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