Gada Jane

190-192 Oxford Street

Paul Peel, who has been called Canada’s greatest 19th century artist, was born into an artistic family in London, Ontario. His first artistic training took place while the Peel family was living where 190-192 Oxford Street is today. Paul moved to Europe to further his artistic career, meets and marries an artist, and their children became the inspiration for some of Paul’s most famous paintings.


Paul Peel, possibly Canada’s best known 19th century painter, began studying art in his teenage years while living in a house that once stood at 190-192 Oxford Street, directly across the street from this sign. In the following story, artist Gada Jane tells a story about her distant cousin, Paul Peel.


Paul grew up in an artistic family, art was a family practice for the Peels. His sister was also an artist and from a very early age he and Mildred were in his father’s studio. It was a friend of his father’s, William Lees Judson who first took Paul on as a student. And that’s where he got his start, really seriously training as an artist. It was a very close knit community in London. Probably Paul is very lucky to be born into that world. People who took him seriously as an artist and watched him closely and paid attention to his development.

Later he went on to study in Pennsylvania where he lived with his uncle and ultimately moved to Paris where he met his wife who was also an artist. She specialized in miniatures, and together they formed a creative family. His children were models for him and it’s these paintings that he did of his children that Paul is best remembered for. And paintings like The Young Botanist, and After the Bath (which won him his bronze medal at the Salon). These are the paintings where we really see Paul come into his own, that create a vision that he’s known for, fully developed. They were so successful he would call his daughter, Marguerite, his breadwinner.

If you would like to hear stories from the Great Talbot area walk north on the west side of Richmond Street until you reach Sydenham Street, cross Sydenham, and look for an orange Hear, Here sign just west of the corner of Sydenham and Richmond.