Welsh-born Canadian artist who served in the Canadian Over-Seas Expedtionary Force,having joined at Valcartier, Quebec in 1914. Noted for his map drawings and paintings of life in World War I army camps.
Elected a member of the RCA in 1905, Resigned in 1909
Arthur E Elias Extract from biography by Rosslyn Morgan Town Clerk, Llanrwst
The full details of that event in 1895 have led me to an interesting story of another
son of Llanrwst - Arthur E. Elias - who “undertook the artwork on the vellum to
embellish the skilful calligraphy of Mr. Richard Wood of Denbigh Street.”
Arthur Elias – “Elias Junior” as he was known locally in Llanrwst was the son of
Thomas Elias (Brewer, Maltster and Merchant of Wines and Spirits) who ran the
brewery in Plas Helyg, Llanrwst.
Arthur was an artist who studied painting under Professor Hubert von Herkomer of
Oxford University. Von Herkomer was the man who designed the bardic robes,
regalia and ceremonial sword used to this day in the National Eisteddfod.
Professor Von Herkomer was hounded out of the university in the run up to the First
World War and established an art school at Bushey in Hertfordshire (now the local
museum). It was here that Elias studies art.
(One of our local personalities, Mrs. Pat Rowley purchase unseen two watercolours
from a Liverpool auction – the description was of two paintings by a Llanrwst artist.
When Pat and I examined them closely, we found they were two views of Bushey
and had been painted by Arthur Elias.)
Following the death of his father, Arthur, his mother and siblings moved from
Llanrwst to live at a house called “Bodoer” in Penmaenmawr.
In 1913, Arthur – then in his 30’s - emigrated to Canada, then on 10th September
1914, he signed up to the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force (Regimental No.
30606) to fight in the First World War.
At the front, Arthur completed a series of six paintings for one of the army surgeons
– Norman Miles Guiou – who subsequently published a book “Transfusion: A
Canadian Surgeon’s Story of War and Peace” in which the paintings appeared.
It is recorded that the paintings were sent to the Canadian Army Medical Museum
which formed part of the McGill University Medical Museum. The original paintings
have been lost and what remains are the photographs within Guiou’s book.
Elias lived through the war and became well-known as an artist working principally in
black and white and best known for his illustrated maps, examples of which can still
be found on the internet.
It is not known when he died but examples of his work on the internet indicate that
he was alive and active as an artist in the 1930’s