This collection consists of two sketchbooks and eight watercolor paintings by R. (Robert) Bruce
Urmston, artist. The majority of art in the two sketchbooks depicts his journey around Quebec,
mainly by ship, focusing on places such as the Falls of Montmorency and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The drawings and paintings in the sketchbooks are varied in content, mostly showing the view
of passing harbors, but also giving a few glimpses of people and places on the ship itself.
The majority of the eight watercolor paintings illustrate places Urmston visited in California
in the 1890s and 1900s, including Mount San Antonio, Chino, and Riverside. One painting from
1883 depicts the town of Douglas, Manitoba, Canada.
R. (Robert) Bruce Urmston (1863-1950) was born in Hampshire, England to Henry Brabazon
Urmston and Harriet Hughes Hughes, according to a family tree found on Ancestry.com. Urmston
was married first to a woman named Esther and later to a woman by the name of Ellla, according
to that family tree. While little is known about his life back in England, we know that
Urmston came to North America by the 1880s and spent a number of years traveling and
documenting his travels in sketches and watercolors. In 1882, Urmston travelled by ship to the
Canadian city of Quebec, a trip similar to the one he took along the St. Lawrence Seaway
between 1886 and 1889. After spending some time in Douglas, Manitoba in 1893, Urmston headed
to California in 1894. In March of 1894, Urmston applied for US citizenship in a Los Angeles
county court. It appears that he spent a number of years in the Los Angeles/Riverside area
before moving to northern California, where he passed away in 1950.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives
and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical
materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.