Yvonne Adams (1921-2014) | A Legacy Remembered - The Landseer & Sonia Cornwall Collection


This past year the gallery lost one its oldest and most loyal friends, Yvonne Adams who passed away peacefully on May 29, 2014 at Haven Hill in Penticton at the age of 93 years. Born in Victoria, BC on April 21st, 1921 Yvonne worked for the TD Bank for 28 years before moving to the Okanagan. She had a keen eye and passion for all that was beautiful spending countless hours developing and nurturing the Rose Garden at the Naramata Church, taking photos and creating her whimsical paintings. She possessed a great sense of humour, a passion for art, loyalty to her friends and family and possessed an incredible social conscious.

Her earliest donations to the gallery date back to the mid 1990’s when she made a significant donation of engravings done by the British artist Sir Edwin Landseer (1802–1873). In revisiting this impressive collection of works, its amazing to discover the connection this body of work has to another famous Penticton family as at least two of the works were engraved by Lumb Stocks (1812–1892) a member of the Royal Academy and the grandfather of the well known and respected Penticton photographer of the same name Lumb Stocks (1887 - 1947). 

In the last few years Yvonne donated four wonderful paintings by the Cariboo artist Sonia Cornwall (1919–2006) that she purchased after visiting her ranch and studio at 150 Mile house in the early 1970’s. These four paintings are some of the nicest examples of the artists work and are indicative of Yvonne’s astute eye and impeccable taste.
In addition to these very public and significant donations, Yvonne was always dropping off bundles of her homemade cards featuring reproductions of her paintings or her floral photos which we sold in the gift shop as an ongoing fundraiser. This was topped up with an endless stream of small donations of cash, art and miscellaneous small treasures for our various fundraising events. Well into the last year of her life she was still driving, often bringing her friends to the gallery to see the various exhibitions and to just check in and see what was going on. 

Last year Yvonne was recognized by the board for her lifetime support of the gallery and was honoured as a foundational donor and as a Honourary Lifetime Member. Late last year we received word that Yvonne had included the gallery in her estate planning and we have just received word on what this incredible gift this will amount to. Once the estate has completed probate a formal announcement will be made and a proper celebration will be held here at the gallery to recognize this incredible gift as her gift is not only a gift for the gallery but the entire community and one which will enrich the quality of life of its citizens for generations to come.

Yvonne is lovingly remembered and sadly missed by her countless friends, son David Collis of Pitt Meadows BC and step son John (Glenna) Adams of Duncan BC, and her new found biological family members she discovered in the last few years of her life. Yvonne was predeceased by her husband, Malcolm Adams and stepdaughter Rosemarie Burnham.

Edwin Henry Landseer Collection (1802 -1873)

Sir Edwin Landseer (1802–1873) was an English painter famous for his pictures of horses, dogs and stags. A child prodigy, he exhibited at the Royal Academy at age 13, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy at age 29 and knighted in 1850. This exhibition consists of a selection of the engraved prints originally bound in book form with accompanying texts, published in the late nineteenth century by the J.S. Virtue Co. Ltd., London, England.

Sonia Cornwall Collection (1919–2006)

Sonia Cornwall is considered one of British Columbia Cariboo region's most important artists. Her paintings embrace more than just its natural beauty, but continue to portray the cattle ranching way of life - her life, that helped to shape and define the character of this vast interior region. Raised in an atmosphere of privilege, privately educated, at age 19 Sonia turned away from a promising career in fine arts and decided to become a cattle rancher at the family's Onward Ranch. This was a tough life, but she loved it: working outdoors. In winters, to get cigarette money she would hunt and trap for furs. The cowboys and other ranch hands treated Sonia as an equal.

In 1946, A.Y.Jackson visited the Onward and his encouragement rekindled her interest and studies in painting. Over the years their friendship grew and he became her mentor. By the mid 1960's, with her children grown, Sonia devoted herself to painting the life she knew and the land she loves. Although her paintings have always sold well, Sonia has only painted for herself and that honesty and intimacy comes through in her art. These works were purchased directly from the artists at her ranch in the early 1970’s.