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Sophia Theresa "Sophie" Pemberton or Sophie Pemberton Deane-Drummond (13 February 1869 - 31 October 1959) was a Canadian painter.[1] Despite the social limitations placed on female artists at the time, she made a noteworthy contribution to Canadian art and, in 1899, was the first Canadian woman to win the Prix Julian from the Academie Julian for her portraiture.[2]


Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Sophie, as she was known throughout her life,[2] was the daughter of Teresa Jane Grautoff and Joseph Despard Pemberton (1821–1893). A successful executive with the Hudson's Bay Company and the first Surveyor-General of Vancouver Island, her father could afford to send her to live and study in Paris at the Académie Julian.[3]

Little Boy Blue by Pemberton

Pemberton painted at a time when her chosen media had been the exclusive domain of men and her European influences can be seen in her work. The painter of both portraits and landscapes, Pemberton was the first artist from the province of British Columbia to receive international acclaim when her work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, including her award-winning 1897 work seen here, entitled Little Boy Blue. While in London she shared a studio with Anna Nordgren, whom she probably had met in Paris.[1]

Beyond her work on canvas, Pemberton taught painting to local female artists. In 1909 she did the artistic decoration for the non-denominational Pemberton Memorial Chapel gifted by her family to Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Pemberton showed her work at the Royal Academy, the Paris Salon, and at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition. She alternated between living in England and living in Victoria. She had a solo show in Victoria in 1902. In 1906 she was elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy. A retrospective of her work was shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1954, and a second one at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1967.


Pemberton studied at the Slade School of Art, London (1892 - 1896) and at the Academie Julian, Paris (1897).[1]

She studied under Mr. Cope at South Kensington, at the Westminster School of Art. As a landscape artist she is considered self-taught and as having developed her own style.[4]

She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[5]
Personal life

In 1905, she married Canon Arthur Beanlands, an Anglican priest, a widower and traveled with him to India.[1] He died in 1917 and in 1920 she married Horace Deane-Drummond, who was older than her and indeed had children almost her age.[2]

Pemberton died on October 31, 1959 in Victoria and was interred there in the Ross Bay Cemetery.

Sophie Pemberton Retrospective Exhibition, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1954:

St. Maria Trastevere, Rome. Oil on Canvas: 23" x 18". Signed and dated: 1898.
Portrait of Horace Deane Drummond. Oil on Canvas: 27 1/2" x 22". 1925.
La Napoule, France. Oil on Board, 11 1/2" x 15". Signed and dated: 1926.
Woods, Dymock. Oil on Panel: 19 1/2" x 14".
Portrait of Armine Pemberton. Oil on Canvas: 19" x 15 1/2". Signed and dated: 1901.
Farmyard near Dieppe. Oil on Canvas: 18" x 25". Signed and dated: 1895.
Church at Fecamp. Oil on Canvas: 16" x 19". C. 1895.
Market, Rouen. Oil on Canvas: 12" x 18". C. 1895.
House Drive, Newport Ave., Victoria. Oil on Canvas: 13" x 17". 1928.
Paso Robles. Oil on Canvas: 15" x 24 1/2".
View of Victoria. Watercolour: 6" x 15". C. 1902.
Chinese Gardens. Watercolour: 9 1/2" x 17". Signed and dated: 1902.
B.C Coast Scene. Watercolour: 9" x 13". Signed and dated: 1895.
The Olympics from Vancouver Island. Oil on Canvas: 17 1/2" x 29 1/2". Signed and dated: 1908.
Girl with Blossoms. Oil on Canvas: 35" x 27".
Purcell's Home, Westminster. Oil on Canvas: 13" x 18".
Arbutus Trees, Vancouver Island. Oil on Canvas: 13" x 20 1/2".
Italian Peasant Woman. Oil on Canvas: 34" x 25". Signed and dated: 1903.
Negro Girl. Oil on Canvas: 23" x 19". Signed and dated: 1897.
Edge of a Wood. Oil on Canvas. 18" x 23".
Island Landscape. Oil on Canvas: 11 1/2" x 17 1/2".
Road, Vancouver Island. Oil on Canvas: 13 1/2" x 14 ". Signed and dated: 1908.


"Art Lovers Crowd City Centre To View Drummond Collection". Victoria Colonist, B.C. (August 10, 1949): p. 21.[6]
"Artist Member of B.C. Pioneer Family Back in Canada After Long Absence". Montreal Daily Star P.Q. (August 13, 1949).[6]
"Painting Displayed". The Daily Colonist Victoria, B.C. (March 26, 1947).[6]
"Of City Artist Now on Display". The Daily Colonist Victoria, B.C. (March 29, 1947).[6]
"Former Victoria Artist Exhibits Pictures Here". Victoria Daily Times, B.C. (March 28, 1947).[6]
Learoyd, Eileen. "Artist From Pioneer Family Home After 23 Years Abroad". Victoria Colonist, B.C. (August 7, 1949).[6]
"Paintings, $7,000 Left to Art Gallery". Victoria Colonist, B.C. (November 13, 1959).[6]
Palette. "Noted B.C. Artist's Work At Gallery". Vancouver Province, B.C. (February 20, 1954).[6]
Palette. "Top B.C. Painter Shows At Gallery". Vancouver Province, B.C. (February 27, 1954).[6]
London Evening Free Press, ONT (April 13, 1954).[6]
"Exposition conjointe". Le Soleil, Quebec, P.Q. (Aug 20, 1949).[6]
""Old Pewter" Luncheon Topic. Vancouver Province, B.C. (January 30, 1954).[6]
Uhthoff, Ina D.D. "Some Emily Carr Paintings Now on Display First Time. The Daily Colonist, Victoria, B.C. (July 7, 1954).[6]
Scott, Andrew. Vancouver Sun, B.C. (October 27, 1978).[6]


"Artist Database : Artists : PEMBERTON, Sophie". Canadian Women Artists History Initiative.
Tuele, Nicholas Craig (1980), Sophia Theresa Pemberton: Her Life and Art, The University of British Columbia
Francis (ed), Daniel (2000) [1999], Francis, Daniel, ed., Encyclopedia of British Columbia, Harbour Publishing, p. 537, ISBN 1-55017-200-X
[Studio-Talk. (July 1909): p. 129]
"Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
[Art Gallery of Ontario, Reference Library]


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