Own a miniature John Horton work of art – produced by the Royal Canadian Mint
In 2006 I was pleased to win a commission with my design of a ketch that was released as a commemorative coin in the “Tall Ship” collection. Since the success of that coin I have been invited to submit designs for other coins. The mint requests selected artists to submit proposals based on strict guidelines. During my research one can learn a lot about subjects not previously at the top of one’s list of subjects to paint. The two coins currently available are: A coin produced in 2013 celebrating the capture of the USS Chesapeake by HMS Shannon during the War of 1812. Gold, silver and platinum coins were produced with this image and at the time of writing a few of the coins were still available. Please see the Royal Canadian Mint web site to purchase. The second coin is a silver coin produced to commemorate the 300th of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia). Mary’s family is from here and she really enjoyed helping me with the research. The image depicts the early days of trade and commerce built on the fishing industry and the defenses established to protect it. (Web site hyperlink)
I have recently completed a commission for famed yacht designer, Ron Holland. His love of sail goes back to childhood and he especially respects and admires the great clipper ships and their crews. The unbelievably fast tea races that captured the hearts of every Englishman are of special interest – the first ship to reach London made a fortune for the owner and ship’s crew. The ships sailed so well that up to six of them could arrive at the London dock on the same tide. That must have been an incredible thing to see! In my painting I have attempted to show the size and power of these vessels which would have every line straining to breaking point and sails threatening to explode as the crews push their ships to the limit.
“Mirabella V becomes M5”
The 247’ yacht “Mirabella V” is the largest single masted yacht in the world with her rig towering 292’ into the sky. Designed by Ron Holland, she has recently gone through a major refit that included a complete redesign of her stern. My commission will show the newly named “M5”’s powerful sailing qualities as she sets sail on a world cruise. Stay tuned!
“Departure of the Empress”
Babe Ruth plays ball in Vancouver then departs on the Empress of Japan for a tour of Japan Why was this painting produced? John painted this image for a client who had accumulated a number of items of memorabilia - menus from the voyage, baseball gloves and balls and a letter from the Ship’s captain. This painting was produced to tell the story of this fabulous time in baseball’s history and to marry the visit to Vancouver, the game, and the departure of Babe and his cohorts on the Empress of Japan from the old Pier BC, which is now of course Canada Place, for a ball playing tour of Japan. Notes copied from the Vancouver Sun website dated October 18, 1934 - If you were a rabid baseball fan waiting at the CPR station in Vancouver October 18, 1934, you might have had trouble breathing. Stepping down from the train that day were Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Charlie Gehringer, Heinie Manush, Lefty O'Doul, manager Connie Mack and more than a dozen other superstars of the game. They'd come to play an exhibition game at Athletic Park, which stood at West 6th and Hemlock. The Babe's team was called “Babe Ruth's All Americans,” and they would play the “American League All-Stars.” (Off-season barnstorming like this of squads made up of players from various teams was eventually stopped.) Three thousand fans showed up the next day in pelting rain that lasted the whole game, with the field ankle-deep in mud, but the players—the Babe included—stayed, and so did the crowd. Said Lefty O'Doul in the dugout, “Say, this is some baseball town, isn't it? Back in Portland there weren't five hundred out and on a bright and sunny day.” Ruth, who had hit 60 home runs for the Yankees a couple of years earlier, told the Sun's Hal Straight that nobody would ever hit 60 again. Notes following were copied from the CPR web site - The Empress of Japan carried out her sea trial successfully in May 1930, achieving a top speed of 23 knots; and on 8 June 1930, she was delivered to Vancouver for service on the trans-Pacific route. In this period, she was the fastest ocean liner on the Pacific. Due to being a part of Canadian Pacific's service carrying Royal Mail, the Empress of Japan carried the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) prefix in front of her name while in commercial service with Canadian Pacific. She would continue sailing the Vancouver-Yokohama-Kobe-Shanghai-Hong Kong route for the rest of the decade. Amongst her celebrity passengers were a number of American baseball all-stars, including Babe Ruth, who sailed aboard the Empress of Japan in October 1934 en route to Japan.
“The Secret Voyage”
Samuel Bawlf’s book about Sir Francis Drake (The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake) has stirred the imagination of many people. Did Drake sail north as far as the coast of British Columbia? One of my clients was so intrigued by the concept that he commissioned me to produce a work that would recreate a possible meeting of Drake and his men with the natives of the coast. He chose Comox as a possible area of contact based on Bawlf’s writings. A point of concern for me was the design of native canoes and habitat as most of the records we use are from the 1700’s onward. But what were they like in the 1500’s? Talking with native historians we could only imagine that their designs would not have changed much. So we are left with many unanswered questions to further stimulate the mind.