Vera (Olivia) Weatherbie

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Vera (Olivia) Weatherbie
Vera Weatherbie by John Vanderpant.jpg
Vera Weatherbie by John Vanderpant
Vera Olivia Weatherbie

EducationVancouver School of Decorative and Applied Art , Royal Academy Art
Known forPainting
Notable work
Portrait of F.H. Varley, Clam Diggers, and My-E-En
Spouse(s)Harold Mortimer Lamb
AwardsVancouver Exhibition Association Scholarship in Drawing and Painting

Vera (Olivia) Weatherbie (1909-1977) was a Vancouver painter and one of the first graduates from the Vancouver School of Decorative Applied Art.[1] Weatherbie was known for her connections with the Group of Seven Painter, VSDAA faculty member, and co-founder of the British Columbia College of Arts, Frederick Varley.[2]


Weatherbie was born in 1909 in Vancouver and went to Britannia Secondary School.[3]

Weatherbie attended the Vancouver School of Decorative Applied Art, now Emily Carr University of Art and Design, from 1925 to 1929 with fellow painter and friend Irene Hoffar Reid.[4]

Weatherbie continued her education in 1932-1933 completing post-graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in London where she expanded her skill in diffused light, muted color, and fractured surfaces.[5] Upon her return from London,Weatherbie took a position as a painting instructor at the British Columbia College of Arts in Vancouver.[6] The school was founded by Frederick Varley, W.G. Macdonald and Harry Täuberwas.[6] Weatherbie worked at the British Columbia College of Arts until it closed due to financial troubles in 1935.[6]

Impact on Artists[edit]

Weatherbie was well known both as a model and muse for such artists as Frederick Varley and her spouse Harold Mortimer Lamb. Varley created a number of portraits of Weatherbie with one of his most celebrated paintings titled Vera (1931) becoming a part of the Masterpieces of Canadian art series postage stamps issued by Canada Post on May 6, 1994.[7]

While a student of Frederick Varley at the School of Decorative and Applied Arts in Vancouver, Weatherbie was known for having taught Varley about auras. Harry Adaskan, a Canadian violinist and author, noted, "'Vera, who was involved in mystical speculation, taught Varley about auras: vibrations which surround all people revealing the true state of their emotions and spirit. These vibrations were depicted as colour by those spiritually ready to receive them."[8]


Although Weatherbie has been considered underrated for her time, she did receive recognition for some of her work through awards and reception.[2][9] Weatherbie was applauded for Portrait of F.H. Varley (1930, oil on canvas and board, 99.0 cm x 85.0 cm) for her ability to capture her subject. Blodwin Davies of the Toronto Star Weekly on January 21, 1931 stated, "Miss Weatherbie has attempted to paint not only a keenly discerning study of the face of the artist, but she has invaded the world of metaphysics in a daring effort to commit to paint the immaterial qualities of personality."[2][9]

Personal life[edit]

Weatherbie married Canadian artist Harold Mortimer Lamb on May 4, 1942.[4]

Weatherbie died at the age of sixty-seven in Burnaby, British Columbia.[6]


  • VAG BC Society of Artists, 1929[4]
  • VAG BC Artists Annual, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1938[4]
  • Night Time, Art Gallery of Toronto and the Twenty-third Annual Exhibition of Northwest Artists (Seattle Art Museum)[4]


  • Vancouver Exhibition Association Scholarship in Drawing & Painting for 1927/28, 1928/29[10]
  • Fyfe-Smith Travelling Scholarship, 1929/30[11]
  • Beatrice Stone Medal in Painting[11]


  1. ^ Viola, Kaylia (2017). "Vera Weatherbie - More than a Muse". Archived from the original on 20 March 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Vancouver Art Gallery. "Vera Olivia Weatherbie, Portrait of F H Varley". The Road to Utopia. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 2017-03-19.
  3. ^ 1950-, Amos, Robert (2013). Harold Mortimer Lamb : the art lover. TouchWood Editions. ISBN 978-1771510196. OCLC 840251005.
  4. ^ a b c d e Richardson, Letia (1987). First Class - Four Graduates from the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, 1929. Vancouver, British Columbia: The Floating Curatorial Gallery Women in Focus. p. 43.
  5. ^ 1881-1969., Varley, Frederick Horsman; Markham., Frederick Horsman Varley Art Gallery of (2007-01-01). F.H. Varley portraits into the light = mise en lumière des portraits. Dundurn Press. ISBN 978-1550026757. OCLC 256536363.
  6. ^ a b c d 1925-, MacDonald, Colin S. (1997). A dictionary of Canadian artists. Canadian Paperbacks. ISBN 0919554210. OCLC 777135054.
  7. ^ "Vera (detail), F.H. Varley, 1931 | Postage Stamp | Canada". Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  8. ^ Brooker (1929-03-09). "The Seven Arts". Ottawa Citizen.
  9. ^ a b Davies, Blodwin (January 21, 1931). Toronto Star Weekly. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Vancouver Art Gallery. "75 Years of Collecting - Vera Olivia Weatherbie".
  11. ^ a b Lamb, Harold Mortimer. "Fonds - Harold Mortimer Lamb, Vera Weatherbie, and Molly Lamb Bobak fonds". Retrieved 2017-03-19.