Charles Beale Consulting & Design

Manly Edward MacDonald

Update 2019

Ever the nomad, I sold the heritage house in historic Bath Village early this year and moved to a condo in Kingston, Ontario in the sleeting rain of February. Downsizing was in order as I moved into a condo - an historic one, of course. During that time, I reorganized the archival material passed down to me from Clark Cunningham and Hollis Arnold, and to which I have added. All of the material was handed over to the newly established Community Archives of Belleville & Hastings County this spring. Interested parties can now view the background to the book in this new space at the Belleville Public Library. There are still a few books left. The journey of publishing the first and only art book on Manly MacDonald is now complete. The interaction with the MacDonald family and friends, collectors of his paintings, and the general public has been a life-changing experience for me that resonate for the rest of my life.

One experience not recorded in the book concerns the aftermath of MacDonald's painting of the Toronto waterfront as a gift to HM Queen Elizabeth II on her royal visit to the city in 1959. (plate # 44, page 75). I wrote to Royal Collections in 2009 to ask to have the painting that was housed at Sandringham photographed for the book. They gladly complied and the painting; one of two Her Majesty owns, duly included. Much later in 2010, HM was again coming to Canada - Ottawa and Toronto among the cities to be visited. I contacted Kevin McLeod, Usher of the Black Rod in the Senate and Protocol Officer for Her Majesty's trips to Canada. I met in Senator McLeod's office where I presented him with a personally signed copy of my book. Sen McLeod then presented it to the Queen on her visit to Ottawa. Weeks later, on July 21, 2010, I received a formal letter from Edward Young, Private Secretary to the Queen, thanking me on behalf of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for the gift. 

Update 2012 - 2017

It seems some time since I last updated the website - and it shows! Since the last update of 2012, I moved to Cobourg, having sold Riverview Farm in Napanee and Treetops cottage at the Long Reach. My dear wife Paula and my editor for Interpreter of Old Ontario died July 23rd, 2012. In June of this year, I sold Idylhour in Cobourg and bought an historic property in Bath, Ontario. The Reeves Brothers house, circa 1850 has room for an art and antiques shop which will opening May, 2017. In the meantime, I am buying and selling Manly MacDonald paintings. Please call me at 613-352-5193 or email at I continue to offer appraisals of his paintings for insurance purposes.

Book sales continue across the province with less than 200 of the 1,500 published now left. See how you can buy a remaining book on this website now at $ 60, inclusive of taxes.

September 20th I presented "Charles Beale and Manly MacDonald Come Home" at Synergy in Napanee, Ontario - my home town. It was great to be back in a new store, Synergy, once the home of the T. Eaton Company on Dundas at Centre Street. I brought 7 paintings and a portrait borrowed from the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in Belleville. Two of the paintings were of Napanee and hold great significance for me. The first is "Spring on the Napanee River", given to me by Duncan and Barbara MacDonald on a visit to the Long Reach cottage in 2011. The other, "Winter on the Napanee River" was bought by me through  an estate. The painting had belonged to a couple in Napanee who retired to Victoria. They later both died. The importance to me is the location of the painting. In my book I describe meeting Manly MacDonald on the docks of the Napanee River at the Centre Street Bridge when I was a boy of eleven. It shows the exact location where I talked with him, so this painting is very special to me. A small group of 24 heard the presentation and then I signed books.

I am honoured that Loyalist College senior staff and the College Association of Friends have invited me for dinner at Club 213 on October 30th to be followed by a talk on Manly MacDonald - home to many of his fans.

An exhibition of Manly MacDonald's winter landscapes "Winter en plein air" is being jointly sponsored by the John M. Parrott Gallery and myself running from November 22nd to December 22nd on the third floor Manly MacDonald Hall. A presentation launch will be held in the Meeting Room at 2:00 p.m., followed by refreshments and a book signing. The exhibition will draw winter paintings together from the gallery, Loyalist College and private collections. Winter cards sets, posters and frameable poster boards will be on display and for sale.

'The Life & Times of Manly E. MacDonald'

by Charles Beale

Manly E. MacDonald Update October 2012

Charles Beale Book Signing Saturday, October 20, 2012

Charles Beale's landscape book brought both many memories of MacDonald to light as well as over 1,200 of his paintings. Included were many stories of MacDonald's honesty and integrity. He sold art to live, but he lived to paint.

Beale, who recently had a book signing October 20th at Chapters/Indigo in Kingston has a unique photo of Kingston City Hall, painted in winter by MacDonald in perhaps the 1920s. It is one of his finest and yet, the actual painting has never been found.

Click here to read more.

Manly E. MacDonald Update September 2011

Dear Friends & Collectors,

Here we are once again in the autumn season and just over one year since the official launch of the book, Manly E. MacDonald - Interpreter of Old Ontario. The painting,'Tilling the Land', used for the book's cover, although a Spring event, evokes the heart of this book and this part of Canada.

We all know times passes quickly and the Manly project has been no exception. Being at the centre of the action, so to speak, I'd like to share some interesting bits about the book and the reaction from readers and collectors.

Click here to read more.

"I finally received a copy of your book yesterday but have only had time to give it a very quick perusal. What a magnificent achievement on your part from the beautiful photos to the excellent narrative! You may be sure that in the days to come I will be immersed in the life and work of this superb artist, thanks to you... I am absolutely enthralled by your book - when I got to the photo of Autumn on the Salmon River I instantly broke the tenth commandment.What a masterpiece it is and I greatly envy the owner."

Sincerely - Audrey Graham

Happy New Year and Valentine's Day 2011

Love is definitely in the air with the forthcoming royal nuptials of William and Kate and the approaching week of love - Valentine's Day. I thought I would send you my 'love affair', not outlined in the book, with the staff of The Royal Collections Enterprises, St. James's Palace, prior to publication of Interpreter of Old Ontario.

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New Book: Manly Edward MacDonald: Interpreter of Old Ontario

"As many of Quinte's community members already know, Charles Beale has put out a gorgeous book about our beloved Manly MacDonald. Hailed as a great Canadian painter whose style is similar to the Group of Seven, MacDonald has made a very significant, valuable contribution to Canada’s art culture."

via Greenley's Bookstore Blog

"I received both copies of the book earlier this week and have already read it. I would like to congratulate you and thank you for producing such a wonderful book. The quality of the colour reproductions is excellent and the text was entertaining and informative. I collect illustrated Canadian art books and this rates as one of my favourites of the 165 books that I have collected to date."

- Terry Carter


The Magic of Manly MacDonald

Books are available at:

  • Agnes Etherington Art Gallery, Queen's University - Kingston (613-533-2190)
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (416-979-6648)
  • Books & Company, Picton - (613-471-1895)
  • Fanfare Books, Stratford - (519-272-1010)
  • Furby Book House, Port Hope -  (905-885-7296)
  • Gallery ArtPlus, Belleville - (613-961-1977)
  • Gallery One Twenty One, Belleville - (613-962-4609)
  • Greenley's, Belleville - (613-966-9760)
  • Heronwater Antiques, Bath - (613-357-3411)
  • John A Libby Fine Art Gallery, Toronto - (416-364-3730)
  • Kerr's Corner Book Store, Campbellford - ( 705-653-4335)
  • The Leeds County Book Store, Brockville - (613-342-5728)
  • The Lennox & Addington County Museum - (613-354-3027)
  • Merrifield Book Shop, Woodstock - (519-539-4220)
  • The National Gallery, Ottawa - (613-990-1985)
  • Old Niagara Bookshop, Niagara-on-the-Lake - (905-468-2602)
  • Novel Idea, Kingston - (613-546-9799)
  • St. John's Books, Grafton - (905-349-3743)
  • Tag Art Gallery, St. Catharines - (905-682-5072)

and through the offical website at:

Click here to read more.

Manly E. MacDonald FALL UPDATE 2010

Manly Edward MacDonald - Interpreter of Old Ontario

was officially launched September 8th in a gala opening at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in Belleville. Paintings and portraits from the Parrott collection, as well as those from Loyalist College and private collections were on exhibit in the three gallery halls. As well, Glanmore National Historic Site showcased items previously owned by the MacDonalds and some of his sketchbooks.The Federation of University Women of Belleville and District displayed items showing their long association with the painter. Wine and canapes were served by the staff of L'Auberge de France, Belleville.

Click here to read more.

Manly E. MacDonald PRESS RELEASE
AUGUST 16, 2010

Manly E. MacDonald Interpreter of Old Ontario has been just been published by Plumley Press and Friesen Corporation. The 192 page book by biographer, Charles Beale has already been acclaimed by book store and gallery owners.

Click here to read more.

Manly E. MacDonald Spring Update 2010

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Manly E. MacDonald Winter Update 2009

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Manly E. MacDonald Fall Update 2009

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Manly E. MacDonald Spring Update 2009

Click here to read more.

Manly MacDonald - Interpreter of Old Ontario

Watch here for the book launch.

Author: Charles Beale
Release Date: September/October 2009

The Red Barn The Red Barn
The old red cow barn figures prominently in this summer landscape, probably painted in Prince Edward County. The grey shaded road cuts a swath across the centre of the piece and is reflected in the colours of the mixed forest and hills beyond the barn. Cattle graze near the water's edge. This painting was purchased from Gordon Huck, of Cobourg in 1994 and is in a private collection in Napanee. (12 x 16", oil on board, framed, signed lower left, 0712).

Roblin's Mill, Ameliasburg Roblin's Mill, Ameliasburg
The spring colours assigned to this famous Ontario mill are muted in shades of greens and browns. Blossoming apples trees in the foreground are painting abstractly; much more so than the mill buildings, providing an unusual contrast. Roblin's Mill, originally built in 1842 was torn down and reconstructed at Black Creek Pioneer Village,Toronto in 1984. This painting is now in a private collection in Napanee. (12 x 16", oil on board, framed, signed lower left, 0536).

Salmon River at Kingsford Salmon River at Kingsford
The rich use of colour in this summer landscape make it pleasing and warm. The ruddy river flows quickly under the old bridge and mill, while a worn road circles up from the valley floor. Warm blues, and greens dominate the colour scheme. This site, near Lonsdale has been irreparably changed with a new bridge and the roadside hill scoured out for gravel on new roads nearby. This painting is in a private collection in Napanee. (12 x 16", oil on board, framed, signed lower left, with a signed sketch verso, 0515).

Tilling the Land Tilling the Land
This figural landscape is one of MacDonald's more traditional pieces. His signature blue sky with its quick-moving cumulus clouds provide the backdrop to a farmer and his team of three work horses tilling the spring soil. In the distance are green fields full of the promise of spring. (16 x 20", oil on canvasboard, signed lower right, private collection).

Belleville 1935 Belleville 1935
An early waterscape in semi-impressionistic style. The tall spires of the city churches and city hall pierce the cold cloudless sky. Early buildings in stone greys and rusts, some long-gone, hug the shore of the Moira River's cold dark blue rushing waters. (10 1/2 x 12 1/2", oil on canvasboard, framed, signed lower right, in a private collection).

Schooner in Port Hope Harbour Schooner in Port Hope Harbour
An earlier waterscape painted by MacDonald a number of times in different seasons. The streaky cold cloudless sky casts weak shadows on the schooner and wharf buildings in this semi-impressionistic piece. Newly fallen snow dots the buildings and the harbour wall in the foreground. The schooner's masts pierce the winter sky causing tension in the painting. ( 8 1/2 x 10 1/2", oil on canvasboard, reframed, signed lower right, in a private collection).

Portrait of Mr. Murphy Portrait of Mr. Murphy
Although MacDonald did many traditional genre portraits, and many as commissions, Mr. Murphy is outstanding as a semi-impressionistic piece. The black background ensures that the features of the sitter are enhanced. Murphy's ruddy complexion shows a serious character who has worked hard, but against his jaunty red and white checked shirt and suspenders one detects humour. He looks relaxed and used to sitting comfortably on a straight chair while holding a cigarette. Oil on canvas, 91.44 x 76.2 cm, framed, signed lower right, Parrott Foundation Collection, Belleville, Ontario.

Cape Breton Coast, Keltic Lodge Cape Breton Coast, Keltic Lodge
This stunning seascape of the rocks and waves below the old lodge is full of movement and reflected light. The greens and blues of the waves crash against the ruddy coloured rocks intensifying the unfolding drama. The Cape Smokey 's high shore is covered in mixed forest in hues of blues, browns and greys, and the sky above is a calm grey mocking the action below. (28 x 36", oil on canvas, framed, signed lower left, 0077)

Sugaring Off at a Sap Shanty Sugaring Off at a Sap Shanty
A richly coloured semi-impressionistic landscape in blues and slate greys with bright highlights of a traditional late spring event in Canada. Oil on board, 26.67 x 34.29 cm, framed, signed lower left, newly cleaned 2008, PFC.

Our First House, Point Anne Our First House, Point Anne
This ramshackle farmhouse is set in pleasant fields of greens and yellows, in sharp contrast to the greying house and outbuildings and the vibrant blue of the lake. Family photos indicate this to be their first home at the point, and so Beverley is seen entering the porch. Oil on canvas board, 30.48 x 40.64 cm, framed, signed lower right, newly cleaned 2008, verso is "Our First House", and "This belongs to Sally MacDonald", Parrott Foundation Collection,Belleville, Ontario.

Boys on the Beach Boys on the Beach
One of MacDonald's signature pieces is created in this charming figural waterscape where two sunlit boys fishing for bait in the shallows. While one hatless lad dips for minnows, the other older boy in a straw hat and holding a wooden pole waits anxiously for the result. The aquamarine waters of the bay stretch to the horizon and the bright cloudless sky. Oil on canvas, 60.96 x 76.2 cm, framed, signed lower right, Parrott Foundation Collection, Belleville, Ontario.

Belleville Harbour Belleville Harbour
One of series of etchings, often done in pairs of a fishing schooner in the harbour buzzed by seagulls overhead. MacDonald would have also done an identical etching in aquatint. ( 6 1/2 x 8 1/2", framed,named in pencil lower left,"Harbour Belleville", and signed in full to the margin, lower right, Glanmore House National Historic Site, Belleville, Ontario.)

Painting Gear Painting Gear
MacDonald's paint palette, brushes, easel, and an unfinished winter landscape. (J. M. Parrott Gallery Collection, Belleville, Ontario).

Sketchbooks Sketchbooks
MacDonald used any number of sketchbooks to prepare for his paintings. This sketch, during one of his European travels shows women huddled in blankets aboard the S.S.Corsica in 1921. (Glanmore National Historic Site, Belleville, Ontario).

Summer House Summer House
Manly & Beverley MacDonald's summer house, the Long Reach, Napanee. (1956-1971).

John A. Libby Fine Art Booklet Series John A. Libby Fine Art Booklet Series
Manly MacDonald, A. R. C. A., O. C. A., O. I. P. (1889-1971)

Manly MacDonald never painted a landscape in his studio - he always painted them outdoors. MacDonald was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, becoming an Academician in 1948. He was a founding member of the Ontario Institute of Painters in 1958 and taught at the Ontario College of Art. This renowned artist was exhibited internationally and has works in the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario and in the Royal collection of Queen Elizabeth II. Find out why he is called "The Interpreter of Old Ontario" by Author, Charles Beale.

Manly E. MacDonald - Interpreter of Old Ontario - by Charles Beale

Manly E. MacDonald
Interpreter of Old Ontario

by Charles Beale

Buy the last copies... Not to be reprinted.

Purchase directly from this site:
$75.00 tax included and signed by the author.

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Ontario shipping is $ 12.00 incl.

(1889 - 1971)

  • Born at Pointe Anne, Ontario
  • 1910 attended the Albright Art School Buffalo
  • 1912-13 to Boston School of Fine Arts
  • 1914 enrolled at Ontario College of Art, Toronto
  • 1918 granted Royal Canadian Travelling Scholarship in Europe
  • Elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadan Academy
  • Taught art at OCA from 1946- 1960's
  • 1948 made full Academician of RCA
  • Resigned from OSA in 1951 over "creeping modernism" in Canadian art circles
  • 1958 became a founding member of Ontario Institute of Painters
  • 1959 commissioned to paint Toronto(s waterfront as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II
  • Accomplished Portrait painter
  • Landscapes and mills used by Coutts Hallmark/Hallmark for Canadian Christmas Card Series
  • After 4 decades of painting on approximately 2000 canvasses, dies in Toronto, age 82