1.The Victoria Limners Society – also known as the Limners or the Limner Group – was a collective group of painters, ceramicists, sculptors and other visual artists based in Victoria, B.C.
2. The artists in the group started getting together in the 1960s, discussing their artworks and forming friendships. The Limners Society was officially incorporated in 1971 and dissolved in 2008.
3. The founding members were Maxwell Bates (who was its first president until his death in 1980), Herbert Siebner, Myfanwy Pavelic, Karl Spreitz, Nita Forrest, Richard Ciccimarra, Elza Mayhew, Robert de Castro, and Robin Skelton. Other members included Walter Dexter, Colin Graham, Helga Grove, Jan Grove, Leroy Jensen, Nikola Pavelic, Carole Sabiston, Sylvia Skelton and Jack Wilkinson.
4. The Limners Society’s general goal was to provide artistic, material and moral support to its members, in line with its more collegiate impulse to create a more friendly and progressive atmosphere for artists in Victoria.
5. The Group did not write a manifesto, nor did the members work in a particular style, medium or genre. However, they appeared to be aligned in their thematic exploration of the human experience, as well as relationships between humans. As Robin Skelton wrote in his book “The Limners” (1981), “They are, certainly, a group of friends and concerned to help each other by means of group exhibitions, but what really binds them together is an interest in what I must call “depth exploration of the human creature.””
6. The name “Limners” comes from the medieval guild of artists consisting largely of traveling journeyman painters.
7. The Limners often collaborated on works and exhibited together in Victoria at the Winchester Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and at Emily Carr House, as well as galleries across Canada. Even after the group dissolved, several remaining members came together for a joint reunion exhibition, “Limners: A Victoria Legacy”, at the Winchester Gallery in 2013.
8. The Limners are recognized for helping to enliven Victoria’s art scene to become one more progressive and contemporary.
9. Many of the members of the Limner Group came from Europe or elsewhere in Canada, bringing with them an international perspective and training that was invaluable to augmenting the artistic atmosphere in the relative isolation of Victoria.
10. Books written about the group include Robin Skelton’s “The Limners”, Pharos Press, 1981; and Patricia E. Bovey’s “A Passion for Art: The Art and Dynamics of the Limners”, Sono Nis Press, 1986.
Featured above: Maxwell Bates (1906-1980) | Battle of the Poets and Mechanics | 1961 | oil on canvas | Volunteer Committee Purchase Fund