Discrete item LA.SC128 - Gertrude Spurr Cutts conservation notebook

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Gertrude Spurr Cutts conservation notebook


  • [192-] (Creation)

Level of description

Discrete item

Extent and medium

1 v. of textual records ; 17 x 11 cm

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gertrude Eleanor Spurr Cutts (1858-1941) was a British Canadian artist and paintings restorer. Born in Scarborough, England, Gertrude Spurr attended the Scarborough School of Art, and the Lambeth School of Art, London. She immigrated to Toronto in 1890 and continued to paint, joining the Toronto Art Students’ League in 1896. In 1909 she married fellow artist William Malcolm Cutts (1857-1943) and travelled with him to St. Ives (Cornwall), England, where they stayed for three years. They then lived in Toronto from 1912 to 1915 before settling finally in Port Perry, Ont., where she died at the age of 83. Gertrude Spurr Cutts is believed to have worked as a restorer in the 1920s and 1930s.

Archival history

The Gertrude Spurr Cutts conservation notebook was donated in 1993 by Elizabeth Legge, University Art Curator at the University of Toronto, to Sandra Webster-Cook, conservator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, then transferred to the Art Gallery of Ontario Library and Archives in 2005.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Item contains handwritten instructions on how to restore paintings, with recipes for cleaning compounds and canvas preparations, along with brief records of work done by Gertrude Spurr Cutts, perhaps in Port Perry, Ont. in the 1920s and 1930s for several named clients. Records in the notebook include the titles and dimensions of the paintings restored, with amounts charged. The 1845 edition of Henry Mogford’s Hand-book for the preservation of pictures (London: Winsor and Newton) is cited as a source of guidance on paintings restoration.

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Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

The content of this item is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication.

Language of material

  • English

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Most pages of the notebook are now loose. The item is accompanied by a handmade cardboard envelope (19 x 12 cm) in which it was contained when donated.

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Archivist's note

Description prepared by Gary Fitzgibbon, 2014.

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