Fonds 1 - Percy Erskine Nobbs Fonds

House for A.H. Scott House for P.E. Nobbs Carillon Barracks Museum Addresses, reports and papers Proposed Development for Place D'Armes Italian Drawings of P.E. Nobbs Student Prize and Competition Drawings of P.E. Nobbs Student Drawings of P.E. Nobbs Student Drawings (Ironwork) of P.E. Nobbs [War] Memorial Windows for Medical Building
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Percy Erskine Nobbs Fonds

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  • 1893-1960 (Creation)
    Nobbs, Percy E. (Percy Erskine), 1875-1964

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Physical description

10,685 architectural drawings
162 drawings
approximately 780 photographs
29 objects
1.23 m of textual records

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Nobbs was born in Haddington, Scotland, in 1875. Shortly thereafter his family moved to St. Petersburg where he studied at the School of Design. He received a Master's degree from Edinburgh University in 1896 and subsequently became a pupil of Robert Lorimer, a Scottish architect and leader of the Arts and Crafts movement. In 1900 Nobbs successfully completed examinations at the Royal Institute of British Architects and won the Tite Prize, which enabled him to travel to Italy where he sketched and measured buildings. Between 1901 and 1902 Nobbs practiced architecture in London and won a number of architectural competitions. Nobbs commenced his long association with McGill University in 1903 when he began teaching at the School of Architecture; in the same year he set up his architectural practice in Montreal. One of his earliest works in Canada was the McGill University Union building. In 1909 he began his partnership with George Taylor Hyde which was to last until Hyde's death in 1944. In 1939 Nobbs retired from teaching architecture at McGill. Throughout his career Nobbs executed a variety of projects including buildings for McGill University, city and country houses, and war memorials.

For further information see the CAC's publication, Percy Erskine Nobbs and His Associates: A Guide to the Archive = Percy Erskine Nobbs et ses associés: Guide du fonds (Montreal: Canadian Architecture Collection, Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art, McGill University, 1986.) Also see Susan Wagg, Percy Erskine Nobbs : Architecte, Artiste, Artisan = Percy Erskine Nobbs: Architect, Artist, Craftsman (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1982.)

Nobbs est né à Haddington (Écosse) en 1875. Peu après sa naissance, sa famille s'installe à St-Pétersbourg, où il étudie à l'École de design. Il obtient une maîtrise de l'Université d'Édimbourg en 1896 et devient par la suite le disciple de Robert Lorimer, architecte écossais et chef de file du mouvement Arts and Crafts. En 1900, Nobbs est reçu aux examens du Royal Institute of British Architects et remporte le Prix Tite, grâce auquel il se rend en Italie où il fait des relevés et des croquis d'immeubles. De 1901 à 1902, Nobbs exerce l'architecture à Londres et remporte plusieurs -prix. Sa longue association avec l'Université McGill s'amorce en 1903, année où Nobbs commence à enseigner à l'École d'architecture; la même année, il ouvre son cabinet d'architectes à Montréal. L'immeuble du University Union de McGill est l'une de ses premières réalisations au Canada. En 1909, il s'associe à George Taylor Hyde, association qui allait se maintenir jusqu'au décès de Hyde en 1944. En 1939, Nobbs se retire de l'enseignement de l'architecture à McGill. Tout au long de sa carrière, Nobbs a réalisé un grand nombre de projets et notamment des immeubles pour l'Université McGill, des résidences principales et secondaires et des monuments aux morts.

Pour plus de renseignements, voir la publication de la CAC : Percy Erskine Nobbs and His Associates : A Guide to the Archive = Percy Erskine Nobbs et ses associés : Guide du fonds. Montréal : Collection d'architecture canadienne, Bibliothèque Blackader-Lauterman d'architecture et d'art, Université McGill, 1986. Voir aussi Susan Wagg. Percy Erskine Nobbs : Architecte, Artiste, Artisan = Percy Erskine Nobbs : Architect, Artist, Craftsman. Kingston : McGill-Queen's University Press, 1982.

Custodial history

The majority of the items were given to the CAC in 1970 by Francis J. Nobbs, the son of Percy Erskine Nobbs. With regard to the furniture, there are four items on loan from McGill University and Marilyn Montblanch donated a table knife which was part of a cutlery set designed by Nobbs for the McGill University Union.

La plus grande partie du matériel a été remis à la CAC en 1970 par Francis J. Nobbs, fils de Percy Erskine Nobbs. En ce qui a trait aux meubles, quatre articles sont prêtés par l'Université McGill et Marilyn Montblanch a fait don d'un couteau faisant partie d'un ensemble de couverts dessiné par Nobbs pour le compte du University Union de McGill.

Scope and content

The Nobbs fonds consists of the work of Percy Erskine Nobbs, George Taylor Hyde, Nobbs and Hyde, Nobbs and Valentine, and Nobbs and Nobbs. 526 projects are documented in the Percy Erskine Nobbs Fonds. Architectural drawings form the core of the fonds, providing a comprehensive listing of the drawings by Percy Nobbs and his associates. Arranged chronologically, the inventory reflects respectively the development of the partnerships Nobbs and Hyde (1910-1944), Nobbs and Valentine (1945-1950), and Nobbs and Nobbs (1950-1960). Hugh A. I. Valentine worked only briefly with Nobbs, spending the bulk of his career with the Bell Telephone Company of Canada. His commissioned drawings and student notebooks cannot be directly related to his work with Nobbs, but are nonetheless described in subfonds 8. Subfonds 6 and 7 describe Percy Nobbs's personal papers and three-dimensional objects designed by him which are in the Canadian Architecture Collection.

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Beginning in 1907, Hyde gave a sequetial operation number to each of his commissions. This sequence was continued in his partnership with nobbs, and later in Nobbs's partnerships with Valentine and Francis Nobbs. Any operation by Nobbs that was not included in the above sequence (primarily, but not exclusively, Nobbs's projects before his partnership with Hyde) has been listed in chronological order with undated operations placed at the end. An operation number whose first digit is a zero (0) has then been assigned. These numbers, found in subfonds 1, are not singly sequential as intervals of five have been left in case other operations need to be added to the existing chronological sequence. If an operation involved several stages, a letter in square brackets has been added to the operation number, according to the precedent set by Nobbs who used a combined alpha-numeric system in such instances.

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  • English

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Associated materials

Unidentified Architects, CAC 30, for drawings of the Redpath Library extension at McGill University designed by Nobbs in 1921.; Percy Erskine Nobbs Digital Archive


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