McMaster University

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950 s/n / 95 AP / $140 retail
Artist’s Proof  $195

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950 s/n / 95 AP / $140 retail
Artist’s Proof  $195
Image Size 15″ X 22″

“McMaster University”
Architect: W.L. Somerville and J. Francis Brown & Son
Landscaping Firm: Dunington-Grubb
Builder: J.H. Pigott

William McMaster was born in Ireland in 1811, the son of a linen draper. He immigrated to New York and a year later moved to Toronto, which was to be the site of the original McMaster University. As well as becoming the first president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce and being appointed to Canada’s first Senate in 1867, Senator McMaster had also become one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 19th Century. Upon his death he bequeathed the sum of $900,000 to have a University built in his name. Today that money would equal approximately $15,000,000. No other Canadian University has ever been started with such a munificent private endowment.

In 1927 it was decided that McMaster University would be moved to Hamilton. The parcel of land chosen was nearly 100 acres of meadowland bordered by the picturesque ravines of Cootes Paradise. Ground was broken in October 1928 and on December 1st. 1930 classes commenced with 417 students enrolled. Somerville’s original plan had called for five buildings: an arts and administration building, a science hall, a refectory, a men’s residence of 100 beds and a women’s residence of 60 beds. Incorporated into this plan would be a huge chapel connecting the main Modern Gothic structures, one housing the arts, the other the sciences. A silent symbol of the “place of true Religion with relation to the study and pursuit of truth as contained in the Arts and Sciences” quoted Chancellor Whidden. The onset of the depression caused the chapel to be erased from the plans. The buildings would take their inspiration from Oxford University and an exact replica of Founder’s Tower at Oxford’s Magdalen College would dominate the main building of University Hall. Into the stone would be carved gargoyles, animals and human faces. The windows would be made of tiny panes of leaded glass. When the five main buildings were completed the cost would total just under $1,500,00. Although Cootes Paradise has not changed much McMaster has grown to a campus that now covers most of those meadows. McMaster University has produced over 100,000 alumni living and working in 130 different countries. The undergraduates and graduate students now total almost 19,000.

Carved into the stone of the Gothic buildings are the University’s first registered and official arms, granted by Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. A stag and a tree occupy the space at the top of the shield along with an open book and maple leaves. An eagle with a cross, symbolic of the University’s ‘heavenly vision’ predominates. Crowning all is the motto in Greek: ‘In Christ All Things Consist’.

Original watercolor: $8,000
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