James Jervis Blomfield, 1879 - 1951
James Alfred Bloomfield was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. Known today as James Jervis Blomfield, his middle name was added from his mother's maiden name later in life when he also dropped the second 'o' in Bloomfield. He was also born deaf.
His father, Henry, brought the family to Calgary around 1885, where Blomfield studied painting and engraving (1887, 1889). Then to New Westminster in 1889, where Henry established the first art glass studio in British Columbia, which he ran with his sons James and Charles. It was the great fire of New Westminster that destroyed their family home in 1898, ultimately causing them to move to Vancouver.
James Blomfield made numerous arts contributions to the city of Vancouver. He designed the City’s coat of arms and completed many significant works of stained glass while working at his father’s firm. Some of his Vancouver stained-glass commissions include: Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Westminster; St. Paul's Anglican Church in Vancouver; Gabriola, the home of Benjamin Tingley; and the original Roger’s Window at Government House in Victoria, later destroyed by fire in 1957.
James Blomfield also designed the granite and bronze Queen Victoria Memorial Drinking Fountain in Stanley Park, and he produced some very fine etchings and watercolour paintings. One of his prints is reproduced on the cover of the James P. Delgado book Waterfront.
Together with Robert McKay Fripp, S.M. Everleigh, and A. Woodroffe, in 1900, Blomfield co-founded the Arts and Crafts Association of Vancouver, which later became the Studio Club (1904) and then finally the British Columbia Society of Fine Arts (1908).
In the early 1900s, he moved to Washington State and later to Chicago, Illinois, where he became professor of design at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. In 1918 he worked for the Christian Science Monitor as a staff writer.
By 1922, he returned to Canada, this time to Toronto where he would spend his final years. He died tragically, after being struck by an automobile in downtown Toronto. He was 72 years old.
His remains are interred at the Hamilton (now Bayview) Mausoleum in Hamilton, Ontario; the stained glass windows of the mausoleum were designed by Blomfield himself in the 1920s.
There is a plaque on his former home at W 10th Ave & Columbia Street in Vancouver, and Blomfield's name is included on the official list of potential Vancouver street names.
Ontario Society of Artists
Arts and Crafts Association of Vancouver, (1904)
British Columbia Society of Fine Arts, (1908)
The Feckless Collection, Vancouver, BC