Fonds 26 - B.C. and Jessie Binnings fonds

Finding aid - B.C. and Jessie Binning fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

B.C. and Jessie Binnings fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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Title notes

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

26

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Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1959-1972 (Creation)
    Creation
    Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning

Physical description area

Physical description

54 cm of textual records and other material.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1909 - 1976)

Biographical history

Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning was born on February 10, 1909 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Due to an illness at a young age, he spent much of his time drawing in seclusion. His passion for art and architecture resulted in his enrolment in 1927 at the-then Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. After spending time in the United States, in 1933 Binning was appointed to a staff position with the Vancouver School of Art. Later in 1938, B.C. Married Jessie Wyllie, the daughter of a Vancouver businessman. In 1949, he was transferred to the University Of British Columbia School Of Architecture. Soon after, he founded the Department of Fine Arts at UBC, which he headed for over twenty-five years.

With his appointment to the department of Fine Arts came a shift in his artistic direction. Whereas pre-1948 he had established himself as an internationally recognized architect, post-1948 he felt himself drawn towards expressing his creativity in oil painting. Building upon his architectural background, Binning often painted large complementary mosaic murals for various buildings and was particularly inspired by ships, marinas and seascapes in general; these were recurring themes for most of his artistic life.

The Binnings took the first of many visits to Japan in 1958. It was there that B.C. felt particularly inspired by the Japanese art and architecture he witnessed; these were a vehicle for a new and lengthy direction for his future work. While in Japan, B.C. and Jessie forged a deep relationship with Bishop Kojo Sakamoto (1875-1969), the 37th Superintendent Priest of the Kiyoshi Kojin Seicho-ji temple. A skilled calligrapher, Sakamoto’s work was influenced by colleague and friend Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924), a talented painter and calligrapher in his own right. The Binnings’ relationship with Sakamoto resulted in over a decade of frequent correspondence between Sakamoto, his family, and other Japanese friends with both B.C. and Jessie. After Sakamoto opened a successful Tessai exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1961, B.C. convinced him to contribute his own calligraphy for an exclusive exhibit that was eventually opened in September 1966 at the Fine Arts Gallery at the University of British Columbia.

Health problems prevented Binning from actively contributing to the art community in the early 1970’s, but by this time had built up a solid repertoire of pieces that have made their mark on the Canadian art scene. After his death on March 16th 1976, Jessie continued her role as a voice and representative for her husband’s work until her own death on May 25th, 2007. Her last public presence was as a consultant for an exhibit of B.C.’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery that ran from January through April 2007.

Name of creator

(1906-2007)

Biographical history

Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning was born on February 10, 1909 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Due to an illness at a young age, he spent much of his time drawing in seclusion. His passion for art and architecture resulted in his enrolment in 1927 at the-then Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. After spending time in the United States, in 1933 Binning was appointed to a staff position with the Vancouver School of Art. Later in 1938, B.C. Married Jessie Wyllie, the daughter of a Vancouver businessman. In 1949, he was transferred to the University Of British Columbia School Of Architecture. Soon after, he founded the Department of Fine Arts at UBC, which he headed for over twenty-five years.

With his appointment to the department of Fine Arts came a shift in his artistic direction. Whereas pre-1948 he had established himself as an internationally recognized architect, post-1948 he felt himself drawn towards expressing his creativity in oil painting. Building upon his architectural background, Binning often painted large complementary mosaic murals for various buildings and was particularly inspired by ships, marinas and seascapes in general; these were recurring themes for most of his artistic life.

The Binnings took the first of many visits to Japan in 1958. It was there that B.C. felt particularly inspired by the Japanese art and architecture he witnessed; these were a vehicle for a new and lengthy direction for his future work. While in Japan, B.C. and Jessie forged a deep relationship with Bishop Kojo Sakamoto (1875-1969), the 37th Superintendent Priest of the Kiyoshi Kojin Seicho-ji temple. A skilled calligrapher, Sakamoto’s work was influenced by colleague and friend Tomioka Tessai (1836-1924), a talented painter and calligrapher in his own right. The Binnings’ relationship with Sakamoto resulted in over a decade of frequent correspondence between Sakamoto, his family, and other Japanese friends with both B.C. and Jessie. After Sakamoto opened a successful Tessai exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1961, B.C. convinced him to contribute his own calligraphy for an exclusive exhibit that was eventually opened in September 1966 at the Fine Arts Gallery at the University of British Columbia.

Health problems prevented Binning from actively contributing to the art community in the early 1970’s, but by this time had built up a solid repertoire of pieces that have made their mark on the Canadian art scene. After his death on March 16th 1976, Jessie continued her role as a voice and representative for her husband’s work until her own death on May 25th, 2007. Her last public presence was as a consultant for an exhibit of B.C.’s work at the Vancouver Art Gallery that ran from January through April 2007.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records related to the Binnings’ correspondence with (predominantly) friends and colleagues overseas in Japan from 1959 to 1971, including Bishop Kojo Sakamoto and members of his family. Mostly composed of personal letters written by hand, several letters are painted using calligraphy. Other records include program brochures and news clippings for exhibits in Japan and North America, and scrapbooks assembled by the Binnings. These either commemorate various visits they took to Japan or of visits their Japanese friends took to Canada. Fonds is divided into three series:

1. Correspondence
2. Sakamoto Printed Exhibit Matter
3. Scrapbooks

Notes area

Physical condition

Dates on envelopes are often very faint and hard to read.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records bequeathed to the Museum of Anthropology Archives by the estate of Jessie Isobel Binning in May 2007.

Arrangement

Original order maintained and variances from this principle are noted.

Language of material

  • English
  • Japanese

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

See attached pdf document for full finding aid.

Associated materials

The University of British Columbia Archives has a B.C. Binning fonds which contains material predominantly related to his role as professor in the faculty of Arts at UBC. The Museum of Anthropology has also received a donation of materials from the Binning Estate; predominately Japanese ceramics and scrolls from Kojo Sakamoto.

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Accruals

No further accruals are expected

Physical description

Includes 19 photographs, 6 scrapbooks, and 1 decorative box

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Updated December 8, 2015 (pdf of finding aid attached)

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