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5.0 out of 5 stars A VIVID CANVAS (2008)--"The Life of an Artist"(1935), 24 Dec. 2011
This review is from: A Vivid Canvas: Artist and Pioneer 1872-1945 (Paperback)
This book was first published as "The Life of an Artist" in 1935 without any illustrations. In 2008, it was published by authors great-nieces as "A Vivid Canvas" with 367 pages, 103 B/W and colour photos and 1 map of central Kenya on page 246. The book is divided into 2 Parts (1) The Vivid Canvas, and (2) Exile and Pioneer in foreign land. MARGARET COLLYER was born in 1872 and she graduated from London Royal Academy in 1898 and was a very accomplished painter of dogs and horses. When she visited her sister OLIVE, in 1915, on a coffee farm in British East Africa(Kenya), she bought a land near Aberdare Range and never returned to England. Margaret died in Mombasa in 1945.
Margaret, as an animal lover, became an animal painter. She did her painting courses at Royal Academy Schools, London and Princess Alexandra House. After finishing schools, she worked in a Zoo and then opened her own studio. Not understanding copy-rights and business, she lost royalty and money. By now Margaret had collected a lot of animals in her home. Dog thieves was a problem, as Margaret had champion dogs to paint, in her kennels. In 1903, she went to Isle of Skye, to paint 'West white highland terriers'. After 20 years in London, she wanted to live in the country. Then in 1913 1st World War broke and she went to Boulogne to work as a nurse. In May 1915, she had a letter from her younger sister 'OLIVE', who lived in British East Africa, to come and live with her.
After a difficult sea journey, Margaret arrived in MOMBASA and found the rail blown up at VOI by the Germans. Her Uganda Railways arrived in NAIROBI after 2 and 1/2 days. She joined Olive at her coffee farm in KABETE. After some nursing duties in January 1918, she bought a farm at GIL GIL. Next she visits Sir Fred Jackson and Lady Jackson in ENTEBBE, Uganda. By now Margaret(NAKANOONA- woman of no words) and Olive(NIAWERA-a woman who works) had stables full of horses and a vegetable business. Margaret moves to her OL-KALOU farm in this isolated area with no facilities and lions roaring all around. She called her farm CHATU(python). In 1923, she fell ill and doctors in Nairobi sent her to South Africa for 6 weeks rest. In 1933, Margaret and Olive did some safaris. In 1927, her house caught fire and she built a new home and moved in on 21.4.1928. In 1963, after Kenya Independence, both farms of Margaret and Olive were passed to African ownership.
Other books of interest are:-
(1) Pioneers Scrapbook, 1980
(2) My Adventures with African Animals, Erwin Baker 1968
(3) Early wildlife Photographers, Guggisberg 1977
(4) Impressions of Africa, Pons 2009
(5) An African Sketchbook, Ray Nestor 1988
(6) Birds and Beasts of Africa, Baden-Powell 1938(1999)
Having born in Kenya, I enjoyed reading this book.
Read and ENJOY.
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