A Boy All Spirit: Thoreau MacDonald in the 1920s Edited by John W. Sabean

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A Boy All Spirit: Thoreau MacDonald in the 1920s
Edited by John W. Sabean

8vo. pp. 303. profusely illustrated in b/w. bibliography. index. bds. dw. Penumbra Press, [2002].


ISBN: 1894131290 / 9781894131292

Thoreau MacDonald inherited his surname from his father, J.E.H. MacDonald, the well-known leader of the Group of Seven, and received his first name in honour of his father's favourite author, Henry David Thoreau. It seemed natural that two of his great interests should be art and nature.

Born in 1901, Thoreau was raised in an artistic environment. For many years he worked alongside his father in the famous Studio Building in Toronto. After his father's death in 1932, he continued there as a commercial artist until 1949, when he moved his studio to his home in Thornhill.

Although Thoreau worked with many media during the course of his career, he decided early to go in a different direction from the Group of Seven; he concentrated on black and white illustration - in which he had few equals. When the Group went north to find their subject matter, he stayed behind to depict rural Ontario and its wildlife. E.R. Hunter once wrote that in Thoreau "We have some of the loveliest drawings of bird life in Canada."

Thoreaus artistic career began in 1922, when three of his works were published in The Canadian Forum. He served as the Forum's Art Editor for the next ten years. He is best known, however, for his book illustration and design. In all he designed and/or illustrated
about 200 books.