Walter Tolles in Context
Local artist Walter Tolles (1876 – 1946) moved to Lambton County, from England in 1913. While working for Imperial Oil in Sarnia, Tolles painted in his spare time and was also involved in the local theatre community as a set designer for the local drama league.
Tolles’s painting style oscillates between a British romantic style, influenced by the English painter Sir Alfred East, and a bolder Canadian style influenced by the work of the Group of Seven and their contemporaries.
Several of Tolles’s paintings from the gallery’s permanent collection are on display, augmented by work from private collections in the community. In order to highlight the artistic climate influencing Tolles, works are juxtaposed with other paintings from the collection including a selection by members of the Group of Seven, J.S. Hallam, Lowrie Warrener, William Atkinson and William St. Thomas Smith.