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Item Name: Painting
Title: Poplar Bluffs
Maker: Robert David Symons
Year: 1965
Country: Canadian
Materials: watercolour on paper
Measurements: overall: 27.3 cm x 33.7 cm
ID Number: PC83.1.83

Extended Label Info: Perfectly capturing the prairie in early fall, this watercolour by Robert Symons focuses on the details of landscape that might otherwise be overlooked. His work details the branches of Poplar trees as they are slowly revealed in autumn, as leaves begin to change colour and fall. Southwest Saskatchewan was a particularly strong influence on Symons, and his passion for this part of the world is evident in his painting and his writing. Robert David Symons was born in 1898 in Mayfield, England. Though he had no formal training, Symons's artistic interest was nurtured by his father, William Christian Symons, a painter and illustrator. In 1914, Symons moved to Canada and settled in Maple Creek. After military service in World War I, he returned to work as a rancher, and a game warden. He compulsively sketched birds and animals in pencil and in watercolour and developed a strong affinity for the prairie landscape. From 1942 to 1961, Symons moved to BC, and worked near Fort St. John, as a game warden, rancher, and as a member of the British Columbia Provincial Police. In 1961, he returned to Saskatchewan, settling in Silton. During the 1960s, in addition to his own painting and writing, Symons taught art at the University of Regina. He is the author of several historical novels, and his paintings are held in numerous public and private collections. Symon’s murals and displays for the Saskatchewan Museum of National History inspired naturalistic museum designs across Canada, and he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Regina in 1970.