This exhibition brings together works and artifacts from the Peel family, which exist at the intersection of artistic and historic significance in London, Ontario, during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The environment in which Canadian painter Paul Peel grew up encouraged his bourgeoning talent, largely due to the influence of his father John Robert Peel, a leading figure in the local arts scene. Along with Charles Chapman and the Griffiths brothers, J.R. Peel was involved in several initiatives to stimulate a passion for arts in the community, including co-founding the Western School of Art and Design and organizing the first Art Loan exhibition in the city.

From a young age, Paul and his sister Mildred Peel were artistically inclined, working in both painting and sculpture. The two siblings later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in France, with such notable artists as Thomas Eakins and Benjamin Constant. Paul Peel became one of only two Canadians to win a Paris Salon medal while Mildred Peel became a successful working artist in her own right, one of the first women in Canada to complete publically-commissioned sculpture works.

Many of the works and objects in this exhibition came to Museum London through descent from the Peel family. Traces of familial artistic tendencies remain in a recently donated painting by Paul Peel’s daughter, Marguerite.