Samuel MaClure, the son of a Scottish Royal Engineer, was born in Sapperton, B.C. near New Westminster in
He originally sought to be an artist and in 1884 studied art at the Spring Garden Institute in Philadelphia, in
addition to classes in architecture and mechanical drawing, before setting off on a career in architecture, setting
up his own architectural practice by the late 1880s.
He moved to Victoria in 1892, and quickly became establshed as a leading residential architect, receiving
commissions from many prominent businessmen and politicians, notably in the Rockland area. Maclure’s wife
was a portrait painter and he kept up his interest in drawing and painting, producing many impressive drawings
and watercolours of local West Coast landscapes. He and his friend Emily Carr both became charter members of
the Island Arts and Crafts Society (IASC), set up in 1909. It is possible that Maclure clients constituted as much as
one quarter of the Society’s original membership.
Maclure was a thoroughly cultured individual whose interests encompassed science ,music, poetry, photography
and aviation besides engineering problems. His love of nature helped him put his observations on paper with
fluent brushwork, with sensitivity as well as simplicity. Whilst basically a traditionalist in artistic style, he
approved and admired the new approach of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven in representing the untamed and
rugged landscape of Canada. Despite a self-deprecating view of his own art work, his generous breadth of vision
and objectivity, made him an invaluable critic in the eyes of fellow IASC members, and he did much to enhance
the status and reputation of the Society with his encouragement of other artists.
Though possessed of great energy, Maclure had never enjoyed robust health. He passed away in 1929 following
a short illness.
Samuel MaClure, photograph, courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 106-1”
1860 - 1929
|Wreck of the SS San Pedro on Brochie Lodge,
Royal Museum of British Columbia Archives,
Past Notable Members