Book Review: Hanging Fred and a Few Others – Painters of the Eastern Townships

Book Review: Hanging Fred and a Few Others – Painters of the Eastern Townships

LiQ_Mag_Dec_2014This book review first appeared in the December 2014 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

Life in Quebec Magazine is a lifestyle publication covering the Quebec region and is currently published at least 3 times per year.

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Hanging Fred and a Few Others – Painters of the Eastern Townships
By Nick Fonda
ISBN: 9781771860215
Price: $24.95
Published by Baraka Books

Hanging Fred is about the last decades of Frederick Coburn’s life. One of Canada’s finest genre painters, Coburn experienced unprecedented popularity for a Canadian artist at that time, something writer Nick Fonda sets out to remind us.

Coburn was a painter and illustrator born in 1871 in Upper Melbourne in the Eastern Townships. He is best known for his oil paintings depicting habitants, horses, sleighs and rural Quebec life. “A quiet, reserved individual who didn’t engage in self-promotion,” as Fonda writes, Coburn gained recognition from his illustrations in The Habitant by Canadian poet W.H. Drummond. He also illustrated works by Louis-Honoré Fréchette, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning.

Fonda’s book is “admittedly eclectic” with lots of local lore about Coburn’s colourful life.

There is one story about a group of boys who spotted Coburn painting nudes down by the brook near his house – all grist for the rumour mill.

LiQ_Mag_Abonnez-vousFonda also touches on the lives of other artists “past and present, who, like Coburn, are, or were, deeply attached to the Eastern Townships.”

Hanging Fred and a Few Others is an interesting and informative read about what it means to be an artist, both yesterday and today.

Review by Jason Enlow


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About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.

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