This coloured drawing depicts actress Brenda Davies (1917-2013) as the titular character in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, produced by the Peterborough Little Theater in Peterborough, Ontario. Australian-born Brenda Matthews married Robertson Davies in 1940 while she was stage manager at the Old Vic in England, and returned with him to Canada. In addition to directing this production, Robertson Davies played a lesser character, the Tailor, who only appears in one scene (Act IV, scene III). However, Brenda Davies played the main role of Katharina, the titular ‘shrew.’ She won a prize for best individual performance in the Eastern Ontario Drama Festival.
Grant Macdonald was a prolific artist and consummate draughtsman. After a decade of studies at the Ontario College of Art, (Toronto), the Art Students League (New York), and then Heatherley’s Art School (London), he was primed with the skill, and already had the personality, to take on the celebrity world. With pencil, pen, ink and watercolour, Macdonald porayed the players of the London theatre scene, on Broadway, and at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival—including Tallulah Bankhead, Noël Coward, John Gielgud, Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Michael Redgrave, Kate Reid, and William Shatner. During WWII, he also depicted homefront workers and servicemen, as a commissioned artist with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve. His work appeared in newspapers, magazines and books, as well as exhibitions across the country in the 1940s through the 1960s.