Decorated Studio Door
The story goes that this painted door was a gift from Lucy Jarvis to Mabel Killam Day and her husband, Frank Parker Day.
Lucy Jarvis was raised in Yarmouth County, where Mabel Killam was born. Like Mabel, she returned to Yarmouth in her final years. The artists had been friends for many years.
Mabel Day graduated from Mount Allison University in Fine Arts. While there, she met Frank Parker Day (1881-1950), who captained the school rugby team. Following graduation, Mabel went to New York to continue her studies at the Art Student’s League under Robert Henri (the noted American artist and member of The Eight). At the time, Henri had a gifted group of students, and he took the best six out of the Art Students League to coach personally. The selected students included Edward Hopper, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, and Mabel Killam. They were a stellar group. Afterwards, Henri noted that Mabel Day (the only woman), was the best of the group.
In the meantime, Frank Day had won the first Rhodes Scholarship from Mount Allison. He went to Oxford, and was active in University athletics.
In 1909, Day returned to Canada to assume a professorship at the University of New Brunswick. The following year, he married Mabel Killam, a painter, and fellow student at Mount Allison whose work had already been exhibited at the Philadelphia Academy and the Chicago Institute in the US.
In 1912, the Days moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he became Head of the English Department at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. At the start of World War I, the Days returned to Canada, and Frank Day served with the 85th Canadian Infantry Battalion. Later, he helped to recruit, and command the 185th Cape Breton Highlanders.
After the War, Day returned to United States, and became president of Union College. Day had suffered shrapnel wounds during the War, and these eventually became arthritic. In 1933, he was forced to retire to Lake Annis in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where he and Mabel lived for the rest of their lives.
In addition to Frank’s distinguished academic and athletic careers, he was a good writer, and is now best known as the author of Rockbound, a novel set in the thinly-disguised community of Ironbound Island in Nova Scotia.
The door was given to the Days’ by Lucy Jarvis shortly after their return to Yarmouth in 1933. The artist designed it in the form of a Gothic stained-glass window. The style is an interesting mixture of Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, with a reference to the Pre-Raphaelites. It was recently found in New York State and has been repatriated to Nova Scotia.