William (Will) Menelaws, born in Scotland, was a product of the Edinburgh College of Art, where he was a
gold-medal winner. He also spent several years studying architecture. Moving to Canada, he joined the
Island Arts and Crafts Society and contributed to its annual exhibition every year, with one exception, from
1912 to 1940. He was also a key member of the Society’s Sketch Club component.
A prolific and versatile artist, Menelaws even ventured into impressionism during the 1920s, but he is
perhaps best remembered for his fine portraiture and his landscapes. He became well known as a teacher,
both from his studio and in Victoria area schools, notably at Glenlyon from 1938 to 1954 and for thirty years
at Oak Bay Senior High, to which the Victoria Sketch Club donated an annual art prize in his name.
In the 1940s Menelaws became part of the group of IASC artists seeking to sponsor an art gallery in
Although maintaining his links with the Victoria Sketch Club his teaching duties limited his exhibition time
after WWII, but his one-man show at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1962, prompted Colin Graham,
Director of the Gallery to dub him “Dean of Victoria artists.”
He was awarded life membership of the Victoria Sketch Club in 1964, the year he departed to live in Port
Angeles. Washington, U.S.A.
1883 - 1965
Past Notable Members
|In Esquimalt Harbour, AGGV, 000070