“Travel broadens the mind, over the years we have received wonderful letters and notes proving this adage from award recipients. This award perpetuates Muriel’s love of art history and the journey of discovery.” Peter and Judy Foulger.
Early Life and Career:
Muriel Winifred Wood was born in Witney Oxon., England in 1922. During WWII she served as an operations forewoman in the Ministry of Supply’s forestry service (Image 1 – Home Timber Production Department) (Image 2 – Home Timber Production Department) . In 1945, after the war had ended, she married Donald Roy Foulger. She was released from the forestry service in 1946.
From 1955 to 1956, Muriel attended the City of Norwich Art College and the following year continued her studies at East Berks Art College.
The Foulgers with their son, Peter, immigrated to Canada in 1957. They settled in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, where Muriel embarked on a career as a librarian at Rosetown High School. Between 1960 and 1964, she continued her career as a librarian in Regina at Martin High School and the Regina Collegiate Board. In each of these positions, Muriel contributed more than was expected – instructing art classes when no teacher could be found, founding a chess club and launching a stamp club. She directed a recruitment program for the Saskatchewan Provincial Library Association and the Saskatchewan School Library Association that involved arranging radio and television programs, organizing speakers, obtaining films and placing advertising.
In 1964 the Foulger family relocated to Ottawa. Shortly after, Muriel joined Carleton University as a circulation assistant in MacOdrum Library. She moved up to become head of circulation, a position she occupied from 1973 to 1978. She then transferred to the Academic Advisory office where she counselled students until she retired in 1988.
While at Carleton, Muriel also pursued her passion for art. She attained her BA in Art History in 1978 and followed with a BA High Honours in Classical Civilization and Art History in 1983. (Image – Convocation) In 1989 she received her Certificate in Teaching English as a second language.
Muriel Foulger nurtured a passion for travel throughout her life. Over a 20-year period, she visited 20 countries, touching down in every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Each year, she would embark on a one to two month trip. Often she would travel on her own, but the prospect of the unknown never deterred her. Her letters home reveal a wanderlust and insatiable curiosity for the people, land and customs she encountered along the way.
Her trips included:
France & Spain (1971)
Paris, France (1975)
Venice, Italy (1977)
Samarkand (1982) (Image – Samarkand, September 1982)
Jordan & Egypt (1983)
Australia & New Zealand (1985)
Thailand & China (1986) (Image – Thailand, Spring 1987)
Kenya & Tanzania (1987/88) (Image – excerpt from an illustrated letter from Africa – describing a market in Malindi, Kenya, 1987/88)
England (1987, 1989 & 1991)
Arctic & NWT (1988)
Japan (1989) (Image – Japan, September 1989)
Art and Images:
Muriel Foulger came from a family of artists. Her mother both painted in oils and made woodcarvings, while her uncles painted watercolours.
Muriel nurtured her passion for art at a young age and continued on to study at the City of Norwich Art College and the East Berkshire Art College. She had her first solo exhibit in the City of Norwich, England in 1955. The show included 38 floral still-lifes in oil.
Originally concentrating on portraiture and florals following the Dutch style, Muriel’s work grew to include charcoal sketches and watercolours. On a trip to Hudson Bay, the Inuit and Cree children of Great Whale River referred to her as “Lady Make Faces”.
Her travels fueled her creativity further. Letters home were often illustrated and the photographs she took would serve as models for watercolour renditions when she returned home.
Muriel was a member of the Ottawa Art Association and an affiliate member of the Ottawa Water Colour Society.
Muriel Foulger at her first exhibit, displays still life in oil, Assembly House at Norwich, England 1955 (View Image)
Inuit child, 1988 (View Image)
A Sea Change, watercolour, c. 1980 (View Image)
Michael, watercolour c. 1980 (View Image)
Norwich City Assembly House, UK, 1955
Maidenhead Art Exhibition, UK, 1956
London Guild Hall, UK, 1957
The Prairie Provinces Exhibition, Saskatoon c. 1959
Ottawa Little Theatre
Michael Coote Gallery, May 1991