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Aitken, William Maxwell, 1st Baron Beaverbrooklocked

(b Maple, Ont., May 25, 1879; d Cherkley, nr Leatherhead, June 9, 1964).
  • Ian G. Lumsden

Extract

(b Maple, Ont., May 25, 1879; d Cherkley, nr Leatherhead, June 9, 1964).

British publisher, financier, politician, collector and patron, of Canadian birth. As Minister of Information during World War I, he was responsible for the War Records Office in London, through which Wyndham Lewis, Muirhead Bone, William Orpen, Christopher Nevinson, Augustus John and six Canadian artists, J. W. Beatty (1869–1941), Maurice Cullen, C. W. Simpson (1878–1942), Fred Varley, David Milne and A. Y. Jackson, received commissions to record Canada’s military contribution to the war effort. The Canadian War Memorials were deposited at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, in 1921, and since then all but the major canvases have been transferred to the Canadian War Museum, also in Ottawa.

Beaverbrook was instrumental in developing the National Gallery of Canada’s collection of historical pictures; he was directly responsible for the gift of Benjamin West’s The Death of Wolfe by the Duke of Westminster in 1918, and the acquisition of ...

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