Unlikely Paradise - Dundurn

Unlikely Paradise

The Life of Frances Gage

Published July 2009


Winner of the 2010 Donald Grant Creighton Award

Artist Frances Gage, born in 1924 in Windsor, experienced both artistic recognition and acute despair in her life, yet she flourished in her work and as part of the contemporary Toronto art scene. A friend of Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, she developed a greater connection with the Group of Seven, working closely with Frederick Varley and producing reliefs of both him and A.Y. Jackson while working in Tom Thomson’s shack

Frances remained focused and positive and became a successful sculptor, creating more than five hundred works of art. Still, even though she achieved the dream she strove toward during all the years of struggle, she discovered that the Dante-like Paradise she had sought and gained was instead the poet’s Inferno in disguise. Her correspondence, as referenced in this remarkable biography, bears out this insight in a life often marked by unsatisfying triumph over tragedy. It presents a candid view of one of Canada’s most fascinating artists of the twentieth century.


Alan D. Butcher

Alan D. Butcher ran his own graphic design business in Toronto and Montreal for over 20 years. He has published 2 books, I Remember Haida (Lancelot Press, 1985), and Ale & Beer (M & S 1989, history). He has three further books in progress: A novel, a memoir, and an urban social history. He lives in Cobourg Ontario and is a friend of Frances Gage.

Book Details

July 2009
6x9 in
264 pp
July 2009
264 pp