Anthony Flower, son of ship owner Cornelius Flower and Margaret Nicholson, was born 4 March 1792, Old Gravel-lane, London. In 1808, his father leased a large estate called Little Heath Farm at Northchurch, Hertfordshire, England. Anthony's mother died some time before 1812 as by that year his father had re-married to Eliza Ann Ball and started a second family with the birth of a daughter, Margaret.
In 1817 Anthony Flower sailed on his father's ship, The Trent, bound for Saint John, New Brunswick. By the next year he had built a small house on a farm at Macdonald's Corner, Washademoak Lake, Queens County, establishing himself in the community as a farmer for the rest of his life. Anthony married Mary Green, born 1794 the daughter of James Green and Elizabeth Carpenter Green, in 1820. Anthony & Mary had several children: Cornelius born 1822, Margaret born 1825, James born 1829, and Mary born 1835. By 1843 Anthony had become a deacon in the local Baptist Church.
Cornelius attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Michigan in 1859. In the 1860s he married Eleanor Jane Gale. In 1846, Margaret married William Vincent and Mary eventually married William Henry Chase.
At about the time James Flower married Mary Matilda Clark in 1852, an 18 x 16 addition was added to the house to accommodate James and Mary Matilda's growing family: Inglewood, Elizabeth, Cordelia, Martha, and George Frederick. In 1868 Anthony officially passed ownership of the house and farm to James but continued to live with his son and grandchildren. Anthony's dear, dear Mary had died the previous year.
Throughout his life, Anthony Flower painted. His earliest known painting, a delicate rosebud in 1804, indicates a knowledge of art and painting techniques. Evidence suggests that he didn't "discover" oil paints until the 1840s, providing another dimension to his art. The numerous portraits of his friends and family indicate the prominent role they played in his life. His landscapes and portrait copies reveal to us a keen intellect and a curiosity about the world around him. Along with the usual watercolours on paper and oils on canvas, Anthony Flower also used other support materials including pew doors from the local church. Some of his later works also include carved frames and paintings on board with elaborately carved details to enhance the subject.
Anthony Flower led an ordinary life in extraordinary times. He was born into a world that still had a king teetering on the throne of France and the independence of the United States and his future home of New Brunswick were both less than ten years old. During his life the world would become familiar with Napoleon Bonaparte, the Irish Potato Famine, westward expansion across the continent, the American Civil War and Canadian Confederation. Not to mention three Kings and a Queen on the English throne, two Prime Ministers of Canada, 18 Presidents of the United States, and the coming of the steam engine, railroad and telegraph; he died three months shy of the first telephone transmission. Anthony Flower continued to farm and paint until his sudden death, Thursday, 9 December 1875, at the home of his friend, Brother William Briggs.
The house remained in the Flower Family until 2002 when it was donated to Queens County Heritage. Most recently, it had been the summer residence of the late James Flower, West Oakton, Illinois, and a great-grandson of Anthony. Mr. Flower, a Life Member of QC Heritage, generously donated several Anthony Flower works to the QCH in the early 1990s, little realizing then the role his gifts would play in the life of the organization and the Cambridge-Narrows community in the 21st century.
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