By Gordon Lambie
This month, the Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke (MBAS) project to highlight some of the artists and artworks in their collection that have a particular connection to or significance for the English-speaking population of the Eastern Townships is focused on the life and work of one of the region’s most well-known artistic names, Frederick Simpson (F.S.) Coburn.
Coburn was born in Upper Melbourne, Quebec, on March 18 1871, but his studies quickly took him away from the region. According to resources provided by the museum, he went first to the Council of Arts and Manufactures School in Montreal, then to the Carl Hecker School of Art in New York City before heading, at the age of 19, to the Royal Academy in Berlin to study art.
The Canadian Encyclopedia notes that Coburn lived in Europe for close to two decades after that, working as an illustrator following work on a “highly successful” illustrated publication of The Habitant, a volume of poetry on rural Quebec life by the Canadian poet William Henry Drummond in 1896.