Annora Brown OCA, CPE


Annora Brown was born near Red Deer, Alberta in 1899. Her father, a member of the North Western Mounted Police, and her mother, who was one of Fort MacLeod’s first schoolteachers, raised her in Ft. MacLeod. Once Brown was old enough herself, she also taught. After four years, however, she chose to attend the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, her teachers, among others, were Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald. She received many scholarships and graduated with a diploma in art. In 1929, she taught at Mount Royal College in Calgary, but decided to return to Fort MacLeod in 1931, where she did fieldwork for the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta, in the area of art and handicrafts. From 1945 to 1950, Brown taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts. In 1954, Old Man's Garden, was published; it is a book in which Brown recorded legends and stories of the flora of the Old Man River, Waterton Lakes National Park, and other areas of Southern Alberta. She also illustrated children's books.

Brown was influenced by the surroundings where she grew up: the country around Fort MacLeod and its people. In her later years, she said that she could still remember hearing the drumming of First Nations groups rolling across the plains. In addition, she remembered the stories told by the First Nations, old-timers, clergymen, and government officials, regarding the exploration and surveying of the land and the relationships between the First Nations and settlers. The flowers and plants of the Fort MacLeod area, which she commonly used as subject matter, influenced Brown. She tried to paint the feel of the flowers, as opposed to their biological structure. She had extensive knowledge of Alberta's flowers, as she traveled throughout the province, taking long hikes to study different flowers in full bloom, at numerous times of the year. Her knowledge and talent led the Glenbow Foundation to commission Brown to paint 200 pictures of different Alberta wildflowers. It took her three years to complete this assignment, since so many admirers bought pieces; in the end, she completed 500 pieces.

Annora Brown, Annora Brown, Sketches From Life, Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers Ltd., 1981 (1st Edition).

________. Old Man’s Garden, Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Limited, 1954 (1st Edition).