A Conversation with Percy Ritchie





Art School Mentors

PR: I guess I've had quite a few mentors, if you come to think of it.

I started off at school-probably the first person that was the most influential and really understood what I was going to do was the headmistress at the school I was at. She put me on to the studio in the school where I studied painting and art with Ethel Seath, and Ethel Seath was the next mentor on the ladder. The two of them really gave me a wonderful start because I was very young and impressionable and needed to be supported with this desire that I had to paint and draw.

SARA:  Was Ethel Seath an artist?

PR: Ethel Seath was probably one of the best art teachers in Montreal, or maybe even in Canada at the time, and has become well known now as one of the women artists of the Beaver Hall group, with Annie Savage and people like that. Oh yes, Annie Savage, I would call her a mentor.

Annie Savage sort of took me, in a very nice way, under her wing, would encourage me and talk to me if I met her. I knew her a little bit. She was a friend of my mothers. She was about my mother's age, I think. She was a delightful person, and taught a lot of students so that she could understand what it was like to be a woman painter, because she was struggling to be a woman painter and she knew that that I was going struggle to be a woman painter; so I think we had this rapport between us.

When I went to art school, Edwin Holgate—I would always think of him as a mentor. He was a wonderful teacher, and he was very encouraging to me, and very helpful. He was a wonderful guy... yes, I would say Edwin Holgate.

There was one other person, who was always very supportive, and that was at the same time as Edwin Holgate, and one of the teachers at the art school that I went to in Montreal, and his name was Will Ogilvie. He was a well-known painter.


Postcard from Ethel Seath

August 8

Dear Percival,
This is not the three 'Red Horses' I tried in various shops in London to get a copy but it was reproduced in a very large size. London is a wonderful place. I have seen ever so many private collections as well as galleries! Also some fine plays. I hope that you are having a happy summer.

Affectionately,
E. Seath
 


Art School c 1936


Percy drawing c 1937


Art School Exhibition