Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tom Thomson Death Mystery Solved...and it involves the Nicholsons..obliquely

Edith and Flo. Canadian Gothic. 1912

Threshold Girl a free ebook about a Canadian College girl in 1911/12 with a Two Solitudes and Child Labour Theme. Based on real life letters. Diary of a Confirmed Spinster is about her older sister Edith, who faints when she seems an the Impressionist style painting Maternity by Mary Riter Hamilton, a Canadian woman painter.(Milk and Water is about 1927 Montreal. You think Montreal City Hall is corrupt now? Read about then... a true story..)

A 'big' story broke today in the Toronto Globe and Mail that has a definite Nicholson connection. It's a front page story: A break in the mysterious case of Canada's Van Gogh. The story is referring to Canadian Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson, who died in 1917 in an accident in Ontario.

Now, quite a few months ago, a forensic artist, Victoria Lywood, emailed me to ask for specfics about some of the pictures of the Nicholson girls RIGHT HERE on my Flo in the City Blog.

She said it for an important case which she was working on.

Yesterday, Ms. Lywood, who works out of John Abbott College which was once Macdonald Teaching School, emailed me to say the story of the case in question would be broken in the Globe and Mail on Saturday (today) although she had no idea if any details of her report ("that includes the Nicholson gals") would be made public.

The mystery of Tom Thomson and his death and final resting place has been put to bed thanks to a group of Canadian academics and modern forensics. (Read the article, which is an excerpt from a new book, Northern Light: The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thomson by Roy MacGregor.) There was a long-standing question as to where Thomson's remains were located. According to the Globe Article, Lywood was asked to 'build a face' around a certain skull of to see if it was, indeed, Tom Thomson's. And it was!

I am impressed, actually, as I always thought that forensic artists only made rough educated guesses as to what a person might have looked like when they rebuild from remnants.

And I still have no idea how my Marion, Edith and Flora Nicholson of Richmond Quebec figure in Lywood's forensic report. It had something to do with their height and weight and length of dress.

The article is here:

Hmm. I would have been interested in this breaking Art History story anyway. I'm in to Art in that era. I've written a little about Emily Carr on because she went to France in 1912 and picked up for Impressionist techniques. I wrote an essay for Education Canada where I invoked Picasso's Demoiselles D'avignon in a story about Marion teaching in 1912.
And I recently And I wrote about a certain 'family myth' where A.Y. Jackson asked to paint my brother in 1958 in Labrador. The QUILT.

And I recently saw a documentary on Tom Thomson on the Treasure HD Network, which really made an impression on me, so to speak. Another reason I LOVE my HD TV. His paintings looked sumptuous.

So, I will have to buy this book, although I may never know how the Nicholson girls helped solve this mystery.