This summer’s temporary exhibit on the history of the arts in Sooke was unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19 precautions. However, we can still be excited about some recent art donations from Sooke Region Museum historian Elida Peers.
We were delighted to receive two paintings from Peers’ collection on Aug. 14. They were painted by artist Capt. Percival (Buck) de P. Taylor, they join other works of his in our collection. The paintings were gifted to Peers while he lay ill with shingles in the 1970s.
The captain, a veteran of the First World War, arrived in Sooke in 1921 from England, settling first into a seven-hectare farm site across from Woodside Farm, and later into the renowned Deerlepe mansion.
Taylor took up painting and soon became one of Sooke’s most prolific and popular artists, specializing in watercolours. He grew wholly involved in Sooke’s art and social scene and was part of the formation of the Sooke Art Society in 1959 and the Sooke Art Group in 1960.
In 1963, Taylor gave an exhibition of his paintings at the Sooke branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Scenes depicted ranged from the Sooke Region to Ontario, Alberta, even South Carolina. He skillfully captured imagery such as “the glory of a stand of first growth timber near Grassy Lake.” It was noted that the exhibition brought visitors from near and far and that Taylor put an immense amount of work and care into arranging the display.
The museum opened in 1977, and a black wool beret, worn by the captain as he did his Civil Defense rounds in Sooke from the end of Second World War to the late 1960s, was the 83rd donation that year. The captain was well-known for his work with the Legion since its inception, as well as his Civil Defense responsibilities.
On April 12, 1978, the museum announced it would be caring for paintings, including some watercolours by Taylor. The paintings, owned by the Sooke Community Association, were works by local artists that had been on display at the Sooke library. The community association formed a committee in 1973 to establish a community art collection, and these pieces have been in the museum’s care ever since.
Taylor was particularly passionate about preserving Sooke’s historical record through his creations.
In 2013, three of Taylor’s paintings were donated from his comrades at the Sooke Legion. Peers accepted them on the occasion of the museum’s open house. In his later years, living in another historic home built by the Throup family, he had a studio on the lower floor, which he called “B Deck.”
After his death, he was canonized in Sooke’s art world, and his pieces grace the walls of many Sooke homes.
You can view some of these works and read more about the captain’s history in our art display next summer.
Montana Stanley Collections and Exhibits Manager Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre.