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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Photograph - Anna Cordelia Magrath
Identifier: 979.6.404
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: c. 1875
Image Creator: Notman Photographic Firm
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A hand-tinted photgraph of a head and shoulders view of a woman ( Anna Cordelia Magrath). The woman is wearing a black dress with black earrings and a white cap with black trimmings. Item is framed. A tag on back states 'Miss Anna Magrath daughter of Reverend James Magrath, B. 1819, D.1895'.
BR>A photograph of Anna Cordelia Magrath (1819-1895), Mary Harris’s aunt, who raised Mary and her two sisters Marion and Isabel (Minnie) after their mother, Christiana Sutherland (1831-1860), passed away in December 1860. Christiana died from complications of child birth shortly after her third daughter, Isabel, was born. Anna was said to have raised the three girls as her own. She never married and lived on the Erindale Estate, either in Erindale or the Magrath Cottage, for over sixty years. Anna was the daughter of Reverend James Magrath (1766-1851) of St Peter's Anglican Church (est. 1825), Erindale, and Christiana married Anna's brother William Magrath (1814-1888).

This photograph, tinted with watercolours, was taken in 1886. It is significant as it is a Notman photograph painted by J.F.Bryce. Notman Photographic Firm in Toronto, was renowned and they regularly hired artists to paint photographs or back drops. This firm was owned by W. Notman and John Fraser. Fraser gave lessons in this technique to budding artists including Homer Watson. Fraser also tinted the photograph of Captain James Harris (979.6.393).

For information on the Sutherland family, see: Fred Cane's report; Malcolm Sutherland, 'A Fighting Clan: Sutherland Officers: 1250-1850' (London, Avon Books: 1996). For information on the Magrath family, see: Thompson Adamson '175 Years of History: St Peter's Anglican Church, Erindale' (Mississauga, St Peter's Anglican Church: 2000); Magrath family fonds are situate at Peel Archives in Brampton, Ontario. For information on Notman, Bryce, and Fraser, see: Stanley Triggs 'William Notman : the Stamp of a Studio' (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1985); Roger Hall 'The World of William Notman: the Nineteenth Century through a Master Lens' (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1993); Stanley G Triggs, William Notman and William McFarlane Notman, 'The Canadian Encyclopedia, Year 2000 Edition' (McClelland and Stewart, 1999), 1666; Mary F Williamson, John Arthur Fraser,' The Canadian Encyclopedia, Year 2000 Edition' (McClelland and Stewart, 1999), 915.

The item was donated by Geoffrey Harris Sayers, who was born 23 April 1907 and died 25 November 1997. A retired businessman, he was the first child of Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant 14 June 1938. Two years later, he was appointed Lieutenant. As of 21 April 1941, he was appointed the rank of Temporary Captain, and was recommended for appointment to the Lorne Scots (P. D. and H. Regiment) based out of Brampton. According to his military file, Captain Geoffrey Sayers served with the Canadian Forces from 21 April 1941 until 11 October 1945, when he was honourably discharged. From 17 June 1941 until 13 March 1945, he also served with the British Forces (he had British citizenship). He received the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp 1939-45. Geoffrey Sayers and his sisters, Dora Sayers Caro, and Barbara Sayers Larson donated Benares Historic House to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969. It has operated as a museum under the City of Mississauga since 1995 and was officially transferred to Mississauga in 2000. Geoffrey Sayers and his wife Kathleen (née Colloten) occupied Benares from 1969 until 1981. During that time, they acted as care takers of the estate on behalf Ontario Heritage Foundation. They kept a small display of artifacts in the kitchen, and opened up the house once a year to the public. He also maintained the Benares financial affairs in 1932 for Naomi (Na) and Mary, who were unable to do so themselves.
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