Fonds LA.SC099 - J. Loxton Rawbon fonds

Identity area

Reference code



J. Loxton Rawbon fonds


  • [187-]-1942 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

10 cm of textual records and graphic material (2 volumes and additional textual records) The photograph album has been disbound.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Joseph Loxton Rawbon (1855-1942) was an artist and art restorer active in Toronto in the 1920s. He was born in Cape Town, moved to England ca. 1861, and emigrated to Canada in 1871. Rawbon began his career as a gun maker in his father’s employment, but turned later to art and photography. He won prizes for his work at several fairs in southern Ontario. Rawbon claimed to have invented the keyless stretcher for artists’ canvases, and developed his own “Rawbon Process” to clean the varnish from paintings. He served as a lifeguard as a member of the Queen City Life-Saving Association.

Archival history

Material constituting this fonds was acquired by Joan Murray, a former curator of Canadian art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, from Rawbon’s son, John L. Rawbon. Material was transferred to the Library in May 1969. With the exception of the album and the notebook, items in the fonds were added to the Library’s artist file on Rawbon. They were removed in 2005 to reconstitute the J. Loxton Rawbon fonds. The album and notebook were part of the General Archives collection until 2005.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred to the Library by Joan Murray in May 1969.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds includes an album (disbound) containing 45 photographs of paintings and prints restored by Rawbon, with a typed description of the "Rawbon Process" signed and dated, 1921. Collectors and collections mentioned include: Elliott W. Atkins, Toronto; Hôtel Dieu, Kingston; Major Kenneth C. Macpherson, Ottawa; Col. W. O’Brien, Shanty Bay; D.A. Story, Halifax; R.E. Cooper, Victoria; A.J. Gough, Toronto; C.S. Gzowski, Toronto; Mrs. John Small, Toronto; Henry O’Brien, K.C., Toronto; Walker House, Toronto. Fonds also includes a notebook containing a list of “Canadian Artists: Members of the Royal Canadian Academy and The Ontario Society of Artists”, September 1922. The back pages of the notebook contain records of sales of “Oxford” and “Lusterize” polish formulas, and of free sample canvas stretchers sent out to clients. Fonds also includes 14 prizes and diplomas won in art and photography competitions at fairs in southern Ontario (1874-1887); 2 photographs of J. Loxton Rawbon; notes on art restoration methods; correspondence and testimonials; and press clippings related to Rawbon’s career.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Because of its fragility, the album may not be consulted by researchers without special legitimate reason. Researchers are requested instead to use digital photographic reproductions, available on CD at the reference desk. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Material in this fonds is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication.

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Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Digital photographic reproductions of the album are available on CD at the reference desk.

Related units of description

Two pamphlets authored by J. Loxton Rawbon are in the AGO Library collection.

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Dates of creation revision deletion




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