You Wrote

You Wrote: Fall 2023

David McTavish, fomer principal David Smith, the Prince of Wales, and Pierre du Prey take in the  Léon Krier exhibiion.

International Honours

For the second year in a row, the Queen’s Alumni Review has been honoured by the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI), through their annual Tabbie Awards. 

“The Tabbie Awards stands out from other similar programs in its distinctive global reach, with local, regional, national, and international publications in all countries encouraged to participate,” the organization says. “The core mission of the Tabbie Awards is to recognize – to honour – journalism professionals who help drive excellence through their impressive ethics and talent.” 

This year the magazine was recognized with honourable mentions in the Best Single Issue: Top 25 category for the Spring 2022 issue and in the Feature Article: Top 25 category for the Fall 2022 cover story about a new documentary about the Tragically Hip by Mike Downie, Artsci’86. The story was written by alumnus Blair Crawford, Artsci’86, whose feature-writing skill in the Alumni Review was also honoured by the Tabbies last year

The rabble rouser

Enjoyed this. Excellent character study. Bailey’s moment with art in Paris brought back memories of a similar kind of encounter:  André Biéler’s Art 3 course in 1962 in the Agnes Etherington soon after its expansion. Biéler offered a wonderful combination of vivid art history and “try for yourself” hands-on studio. I still have my watercolour effort to capture a Roman baroque façade – and an enduring interest in art history. 

John Olson, Artsci’62 

I have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the arts patronage community worldwide to Peter Simpson’s brilliant writing and interview style. I am grateful for Peter Simpson’s sagacity. 

Bruce Bailey, Artsci’76

A royal connection

Permit me to add a personal observation to Tony Atherton's account of the Prince of Wales's visit to the Léon Krier exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre; one that very nearly did not happen (Fall 2022 issue). 

As the instigator and organizer of the Queen's/Alcan architecture lecture series, I invited Prince Charles’s architectural guru, Léon Krier, to be the 1991 guest speaker. The original idea was that he would also join Prince Charles, eminent Toronto urban-design theorist Jane Jacobs, and others for a panel discussion following his talk. During a research trip of my own to London, I had the occasion to speak with the Prince’s deputy private secretary, and learned from him that Charles would be delighted to join such a panel. All this would take place in the larger context of the lectures and symposia celebrating Queen’s sesquicentennial. The stellar conjunction of events proved too good to be true. 

Conflicting agendas for the prince's visit and subsequent mis-communication between Queen’s and St. James’s Palace nixed these “best laid plans.” Krier’s lecture and the symposium went ahead anyway several days after the royal visit. Meanwhile, a small exhibition of his sketchbooks that Krier had loaned for the occasion opened at the Art Centre. Two MA students of mine, Joan Coutu and Denise Jakal, wrote a slim but elegant catalogue, prefaced by me, to go along with the show. We had the distinct impression that Prince Charles would never visit it. But the night before his Oct. 28 honorary degree award-ceremony in Grant Hall, I received a surprise telephone call from my friend and colleague, David McTavish, the director of the Art Centre. A security sweep of the premises had just taken place. At the last minute the prince would see the Krier exhibition after all. 

David and I awaited the prince in the former Etherington House dining room, where the exhibition was on display. Charles and his party finally arrived. The display cabinets were open for him to leaf through Krier’s fascinating drawings. They related to the architect’s 1982 imaginary Laurentine Villa project, an encapsulation of his thinking about the interrelationship of citizen, city and state, which eventually bore fruit in the prince’s model village at Poundbury in Dorset. 

Prince Charles was enthralled with the sketchbooks, never shown in public before. I will always remember the enraptured look on his face when, like a child let loose in a toy shop, he turned to a door open to the rest of the gallery and asked what else he could see. Sadly for him, the members of his entourage quickly intervened to whisk him away. 

Pierre du Prey, Professor and Queen's Research Chair Emeritus, Department of Art History

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