Article by René Villeneuve (English Translation John Fleming)

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’est en approvisionnant les minotiers de Detroit que l’états-uniens Hiram Walker, commanditaire de ce trophée, amorce des relations commerciales dans le Haut-Canada. Dès 1856, il acquiert des terres près de Windsor, puis fonde Walkerville ou Walkertown. Distillateur à Waterloo, Joseph Emm Seagram, le récipiendaire, s’adonne sans réserve à sa passion pour les concours hippiques sa vie durant. Ses triomphes répétés font qu’à son décès en 1919, il était le plus grand éleveur de chevaux du Canada.

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t was as a supplier to the grain trade in Detroit that American Hiram Walker, sponsor of the Walker Cup, began his business activities in Upper Canada. As early as 1856 he acquired land near Windsor, Ontario, and founded Walkerville, also known as Walkertown. Waterloo distiller Joseph Emm Seagram, winner of the Walker Cup, was a life-long racing enthusiast. His repeated wins were such that at his death in 1919 he had become the most important breeder of horses in Canada.


The scope of the project to create the cup, in particular with a rich, elaborated figural image, pushed the J.E. Ellis & Co. firm of Toronto to turn to the Gorham MFG. Co. of Providence, Rhode Island, in order to find a workshop with the expertise and exceptional technical means unavailable in Canada. The concept was approved March 8, 1894, and the following May 11, the Gorham company prepared a summing-up when the work was about to be delivered.

L’ampleur du projet—notamment la présence d’une riche figuration élaborée—oblige la J. E. Ellis & Co. de Toronto à recourir à un atelier disposant d’une expertise et de moyens techniques excep¬tionnels, inexistants au Canada. Le concept est approuvé le 8 mars 1894 et le 11 mai suivant, la Gorham effectue une récapitulation au moment où l’œuvre doit être livrée.

Excerpted from Spring/Summer 2013 Ornamentum. Click here to subscribe.

René Villeneuve est Conservateur associé, à l’Art canadien ancien, au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada. (English Translation by John Fleming)

The Walker Cup, 1894-1895
Gorham Mfg. Co. (pour la J.E. Ellis & Co.), Etats-Unis
argent, 5,98 kg, 51,5 x 35,8 x 26,8 cm
Achat 2009 Musée des beaux-artsdu Canada
Photograph © MBAC

The Walker Cup, 1894-1895
Gorham Mfg. Co. (for J.E. Ellis & Co.), American
silver, 51.5 x 35.5 x 26.8 cm
Purchased 2009 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Photograph: © NGC