Carter, Alexander Scott

CARTER, Alexander Scott (1881-1968) was a talented artist, architect, draftsman, and delineator active in Toronto from 1912 until after 1960. Born in Harrow, Middlesex Co., England on 7 April 1881, he attended the Bournemouth School of Art, and articled in the office of J.S.C. McEwan-Brown, a local architect there, from 1899 to 1902. He then moved to London and worked as an assistant in the office of William Hunt for seven years (in 1902-09), and for another London architect Alan G. James (in 1909-12).

While there, he studied architecture and art at the Royal Academy Schools in 1905-08 where his instructors included some of the leading architects of London such as Sir Thomas G. Jackson, Sir Reginald Blomfield, Sir Aston Webb, George F. Bodley, and John Belcher. In 1905-06 he was awarded two Silver Medals, as well as a design prize from the R. A. Schools for his exemplary drawings. Carter was a precocious draftsman, and his talent as a delineator first came to professional attention with the publication of his measured drawings for St. Benet’s Church, Upper Thames Street, London (Builder‘s Journal & Architectural Record [London], xxi, 8 March 1905, 131, illus.). The church, originally built in 1683, had been designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Carter joined the Royal Inst. of British Architects in March 1911, but left England and emigrated to Canada in late 1912, settling in Toronto. There, his most important architectural patron was to be Henry Sproatt, of Sproatt & Rolph, who commissioned Carter to undertake the largest and most important project of his career located inside the Great Hall at Hart House, University of Toronto. News of Carter’s skill and achievements spread among the leading families of Toronto, and within the next two decades he found himself completing works for Lady Eaton, Sir Joseph Flavelle, E.R. Wood, Gerald Larkin, the Hon. Vincent Massey, Sir Edmund Walker, Sir Vincent Meredith, J.P. Bickell, and Sir Frederick Williams-Taylor. Examples of his work can now be found in the collections of Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Devonshire, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, He developed strong ties with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, and his most notable ecclesiastical commission, executed for St. Thomas Anglican Church, Huron Street (1927, and 1940-41) can still be viewed today.

Carter was elected as an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1922, and as a full Academician in 1927, and Senior Academician in 1951. He registered with the Ontario Association of Architects in 1931, and was accepted as member of the Royal Architectural Inst. of Canada in 1936. The RAIC awarded the Allied Arts Silver Medal to Carter in 1959 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 4 May 1959, 8). He returned to England after 1960 and later died in Toronto, Ont. on 30 December 1968 (death notice erroneously listed under the name of ‘Scott-Carter’ [sic], in the Globe & Mail [Toronto], 1 January 1969, 32; biog. Canadian Who’s Who, ii, 1936-37, 178; biog. and list of works in Who’s Who in Ontario Art, Part Five, November 1948; Who Was Who 1961-70 [London], Addenda Two, p. xxxiv; list of exhibited works in E. McMann, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members 1880-1979, 1981, 64; R.I.B.A., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, 2001, 340; inf. Ontario Association of Architects).

A large collection of of drawings and sketches by Carter documenting over 80 projects designed by him from 1920 to 1960 is now held at the Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. A detailed description of the collection, with illustrations, was published in Halcyon, The Newsletter of the Friends of Fisher Library, 2003, 2-3, illus.

ARCHITECTURAL WORKS

GREAT MISSENDEN, CO. BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND, residence for an unnamed client, 1905 (Builder's Journal & Architectural Record [London], xxii, 13 July 1905, 23, descrip. and full page Plate illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., Bain Avenue Housing Estate, 1913. Carter prepared an elaborate bird's eye perspective of the proposed Riverdale housing project for the Toronto Housing Co. Ltd., showing the development designed by Eden & Smith & Son. This drawing, signed "A. Scott Carter, fecit 1913" was published as a double page plate in Better Housing in Canada - The Ontario Plan - The First Annual Report of the Toronto Housing Co. Ltd., 1913, 16 ff., illus. This drawing is reproduced in Charles C. Hill, edit., Artists, Architects & Artisans - Canadian Art 1890-1918, 2013, 258, illus. & descrip.
TORONTO, ONT., residence for Malcolm H. Robinson, Poplar Plains Crescent, 1914 (C.H.G., xxii, June 1945, 21-5, illus.; dwgs. in the possession of Mr. Duncan McLean, Waddington Auctioneers, Toronto)
BRANTFORD, ONT., proposal for the new Civic Center for Branford, 1914. Carter was asked by the landscape architect H.B. Dunington-Grubb to prepare drawings showing the proposed Bell Telephone Memorial. He prepared two bird's eye perspective drawings (Charles C. Hill, edit., Artists, Architects & Artisans - Canadian Art 1890-1918, 2013, 198-99, illus. & descrip.). Both drawings are now held by the Univ. of Guelph, Special Collections Div.
TORONTO, ONT. ‘Design for a Garden’, at the residence of Ralph Connable, Lyndhurst Avenue at Melgund Road, 1915. The bird’s eye perspective drawing, signed by Carter, was published in Canadian Homes & Gardens, v. Feb. 1928, 45, illus. The house itself was designed by Wickson & Gregg, and the landscape design was by H. Dunington-Grubb.

COMPETITIONS

LONDON, ENGLAND. While attending the Royal Academy Schools in 1905, Carter received a Silver Medal for Measured Architectural Drawings, with the submission of his drawings of Charterhouse Hall, London (Builder [London], lxxxix, 16 Dec. 1905, 637). His drawings were subsequently published in The Builder [London], xc, 31 March 1906, 352-3, descrip. & plate illus.). These drawings now form the only accurate record of this landmark which was completely destroyed during enemy bombing in WWII. That same year, Carter also received a Prize of £ 15 from the Royal Academy for his “Set of Drawings of an Architectural Design” showing his scheme for a group of almshouses (Builder [London], lxxxix, 16 Dec. 1905, 637)
LONDON, ENGLAND. In 1906 Carter received another Silver Medal from the Royal Academy Schools for his “Architectural Design with Coloured Decoration” , in which he presented his scheme for a large cut stone floor pattern to be located in the vestibule of the Royal Academy Building in London (Builder [London[, xci, 15 Dec. 1906, 684, with commentary and appraisal).

ART WORKS & ARCHITECTURAL DECORATION

(works in Toronto unless noted)

CANADIAN BANK OF COMMERCE, a case, casket and presentation album presented to Sir Edmund Walker by the Directors of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, celebrating his 50 years of service to the bank, 1918-19 (Charles C. Hill, edit., Artists, Architects & Artisans - Canadian Art 1890-1918, 2013, 145-46, illus. & descrip.). This case is now held in the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
HART HOUSE, University of Toronto, coat of arms of the universities throughout the world, located on the north and south wall of the Great Hall designed by Sproatt & Rolph, with a hand-painted inscription surrounding the interior of the Great Hall, taken from John Milton's Areopagitica (1644) c. 1920 (University of Toronto Magazine, Summer 2007, 50, illus. & descrip.; inf. The Warden, Hart House)
HART HOUSE, University of Toronto, commemorative Dinner Menu in honour of Sproatt & Rolph, Architects, presented at Hart House on 16 December 1926 (R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, Jan. 1927, 33, illus.)
ART GALLERY OF TORONTO, Dundas Street West, crest for the Art Gallery, 1927 (Const., xx, March 1927, 76, illus.)
ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS ANGLICAN CHURCH, St. Clair Avenue West, silver memorial chalice, 1927; Memorial Casket and Commemorative Booklet for Mrs. Timothy Eaton, 1927; War Memorial Plaque, 1927 (R.A.I.C. Journal, iv, May 1927, 162, 165-6, 171, illus.)
PORT CREDIT, ONT., library ceiling decoration at the residence of John P. Bickell, designed by Murray Brown, 1927 (R.A.I.C. Journal, v, July 1928, 245, 262, illlus.)
MONTREAL, QUE., University Club, Mansfield Street, decorative panel above the fireplace in the Entrance Hall to the Club, designed by Percy E. Nobbs, 1927 (R.A.I.C. Journal, v, Jan. 1928, 15, illus.)
ST. THOMAS ANGLICAN CHURCH, Huron Street, interior decoration of the Lady Chapel, 1927; reredos, c. 1940-41 (R.A.I.C. Journal, v, March 1928, 87-8, illus.; Saturday Night [Toronto], 30 Sept. 1944, 5, descrip. & illus.; Household of God: Parish History of St. Thomas Anglican Church Toronto, 1993, 131-6, 148 ff, illus.)
CANADA LIFE ASSURANCE CO., University Avenue, designed by Sproatt & Rolph, floor medallion in the entrance lobby, 1930 (Const., xxiv, April 1931, 120, illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., commemorative Dinner Menu in honour of James P. Hynes, Architect (R.A.I.C. Journal, viii, March 1931, 101)
MONTREAL, QUE., seal for the Province of Quebec Assoc. of Architects, 1933 (R.A.I.C. Journal, x, July 1933, 136)
OTTAWA, ONT, illuminated Address, commissioned by the Royal Architectural Inst. of Canada and sent to London, Engl. on the occasion of the coronation of King George VI, 1937 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xiv, June 1937, 102, illus.)
HART HOUSE, University of Toronto, Map of the University Campus, now mounted on the East Wall of the Map Room, signed by Carter and dated 1937, surrounded by a gilt frame also designed by Carter (University of Toronto Magazine, Spring 1999, 34, illus. & descrip.; E.L. Panayotidis & P. Stortz, “The Mythic Campus and the Professional Life: A. Scott Carter‘s Pictorial Map of the University of Toronto, 1937“ in History of Education Review [Australia], xl, No. 1, 2011, 9-29, illus. & descrip.)
TRINITY COLLEGE, Hoskin Avenue, University of Toronto, heraldic plaques over the exterior doorways of the new Residence Wing designed by George & Moorhouse, 1941; coat-of-arms of Queen Victoria, in the gallery of Strachan Hall, c. 1945 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 5 Oct. 1946, 26, descrip.) GRACE CHURCH-ON-THE-HILL (Anglican), Lonsdale Road, reredos, c. 1948 (inf. H. Anson-Cartwright, Toronto)
TORONTO, ONT., Coat of Arms for the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, 1953 (Globe & Mail [Toronto], 18 Nov. 1992)
BANK OF CANADA, University Avenue at Queen Street West, Coat of Arms of Canada, mounted over the main entrance, 1958 (R.A.I.C. Journal, xxxvi, April 1959, 129, illus.)