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Marion and Jim Nicoll fonds

1881-1986, predominant 1935-1977

Physical Description:
1.95 m of textual records. -- 39.5 cm of photographs

Marion Florence Mackay Nicoll, 1909-1985, was born in Calgary. She studied at the Ontario College of Art, 1927-1929, and under A.C. Leighton at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now Alberta College of Art), 1929-1932. She accepted a teaching position in crafts and design at the Institute in 1933 and taught there until 1940 and again from 1946 to 1966. Through the influence of A.C. Leighton, Jock Macdonald and automatic drawing, and Will Barnet, her art evolved from landscape painting to a distinct style of classical abstraction. She married Jim Nicoll in 1940 and they settled in Bowness in 1945. James McLaren Nicoll, 1892-1986, was born in Fort Macleod and grew up in Fernie and Nelson, British Columbia. He served in the First World War, then trained as a civil engineer at the University of Alberta. Although he worked as an engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and J.O.G. Sanderson for many years, his first love was art. He was a poet and writer, and began to paint in 1930. Both he and Marion exhibited their art during the 1960s-1970s. They were involved in a number of organizations in the community such as Alberta Society of Artists, Calgary Allied Arts Council, Calgary Kinsmen, Old Cabin Crafts Society, Bowness Recreation Centre and Bowness Library Board. Jim was the author of The Poetry and Prose of Jim Nicoll. -- Calgary : Sandstone, 1980. For further information see Marion Nicoll : Art and Influences / Christopher Jackson. -- Calgary : Glenbow Museum, 1986; Beyond "the Artist's Wife" : Women, Artist-Couple Marriage and the Exhibition Experience in Postwar Canada / Catherine Margaret Mastin. -- unpublished PhD thesis, University of Alberta, 2012; Almost Outnumbered : The Role of Alberta in the Life and Work of Marion Nicoll / Natasha Pashak. --unpublished MA thesis, Concordia University, 2010; and Marion Nicoll : Silence and Alchemy / Ann Davis, Jennifer E. Salahub, Christine Sowiak and Elizabeth Herbert. -- Calgary : University of Calgary Press, 2013.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of personal correspondence and photographs; hand-crafted Christmas cards; income tax returns; records from professional and community organizations such as Allied Arts Council, Alberta Society of Artists, Old Cabin Crafts Society, Bowness Recreation Centre and Bowness Library; art course materials; the Nicolls' articles on art; drawings and photographs of art studio; biographical data; grant applications and correspondence; correspondence regarding art commissions; sketches; photograph studies and plans for artwork; photographs of plans and models; notes, drafts and final drafts of poetry; correspondence regarding exhibits, sales and rentals of artwork; completed artwork; publicity photographs and slides of the Nicolls and their artwork; art show brochures; and art reference files. Includes Jim's engineering work diaries and construction photographs.
RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Will Barnet, Max Bates, Trudy Carlyle, Dorothy L. Jorgens Dowhan, Peter Fitzgerald-Moore, and ManWoman (Pat Kemball).

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Marion Nicoll and Janet Mitchell, 1982-1986, and estate of Arthur Klyne, 2008.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Other Nicoll sketchbooks are held by the Mount Royal University Archives.
There are interviews with Jim and Marion Nicoll, and Marion's associates, in the Alberta Artists Oral History Project at Glenbow (RCT-171-23, RCT-171-24); and with Marion in the Junior League Women's Oral History Project at Glenbow (RCT-403). Further sketches, designs and artwork are held by the Glenbow Art Department. There is a sound recording of a visit to the home of Jim and Marion Nicoll by the host of the radio show "Calling Card" in the CFCN fonds at Glenbow, call number RAD-50-137.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-6642, PA-2435, PB-599, PC-248, NA-4557, NA-4992, S-82, S-91

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