Walter J. Phillips (1884-1963)
Mount Cathedral & Mount Stephen, 1928
colour woodcut on paper (edition: 300)
16.3 x 22.5 cm

Printed on Shoji paper from six cherry-wood blocks, this is the sixth print in the 1928 portfolio of seven colour prints entitled The Canadian Scene. Phillips provided the following commentary:

This is from a sketch made during a most interesting trip to the region around Lake O'Hara in the Canadian Rockies. Our camp was on the shore where a stream enters the lake, a tumbling noisy cataract whose source is the glacier at Opabin Pass. We emerged daily from our shut-in situation by climbing to an open plateau across which both we and the stream meandered. This proved to be a magnificent sketching-ground of meadows, lakes and glacial ice. Here were visible all the scenic changes that followed the glacial age. Sketching alone on that plateau, the world of men seemed very far away. There were no sounds but the tinkle of water, the thunder of gigantic boulders released from the heights as they bounded down the slopes, and the shrill and startling whistle of the marmot.

Anybody could paint up there. The beauty of nature is thrust upon you and there are no disturbances to take your mind away; no pestiferous insects for example, only the boulders and, if one of these seriously disturbed you, you would never know it.

The boulders, distributed restfully on the gentle slopes in the print, doubtless were once part of the heights that tower above them. They did not fall recently and may have been carried by some glacier that has receded since. But the boulder I sat on when I made the sketch, was divorced quite recently from the mountain. Other separations were in active progress as I sat there.

The peak on the right is Cathedral. To the left of that is Mount Stephen. A shoulder of Odaray appears on the extreme left.