Accession Number
A framed watercolor painting of Robert Dunsmuir Bryden, from mid-chest up, his head turned slightly to his left, his costume a tan-coloured suit jacket and vest with a light shirt and brown necktie, his hair short and greying, his eyebrows bushy.
Robert Dunsmuir Bryden (1868-1945), also known as "Bob" Bryden was the eldest son of Elizabeth Hamilton Dunsmuir (also known as Mrs. John Bryden) and John Cowper Bryden. He was Robert and Joan Dunsmuir's first grandchild. 

This painting shows Bryden, age 65, dressed smartly. His interest in sartorial matters was confirmed by his nephew, the late Gerald Robert Bryden, who told Craigdarroch Curator Bruce Davies that his uncle Bob bought his clothing at Victoria's George Straith Ltd. On one occassion, Gerald was with his uncle when he purchased a meticulously-blocked fedora hat. As soon as they emerged from the store, his uncle removed the hat and began vigorously beating it against his leg. Gerald Bryden told Davies that his uncle detested the crispness of the new hat. His clothing was of high quality, but generally rather crumpled-looking.

Robert "Bob" Dunsmuir Bryden, his bother John William Bryden, and his sister Joan Olive Bryden, inherited a significant amount of money, real estate, mining stock, and other investments when their father died in 1915.  Bob never married, and consequently spent considerable sums on gifts for his siblings, nephews, and nieces.

Gerald related to Davies that on one occassion when he and his father John William Bryden were downtown with Bob, the trio made an unplanned stop at Victoria's Plimley's Motors (Thomas H. Plimley Ltd. 1010 Yates Street). They noticed a handsome Packard car in the showroom and began touching it and talking amongst themselves. A young salesman appeared. After concluding that no one in the group could afford to buy such a car, the salesman curtly invited them to leave and carry on with their day.  It was, after all, the 1930's, the time of the Great Depression. Just as the trio was leaving, Mr. Plimley appeared from his office and recognized Bob. "Bob!" he shouted. After exchaging pleasantries, Bob said to Mr. Plimley, "I really like this car (referring to the one they had been pawing). I'm going to buy it. John, why don't you take that one (referring a car that his brother had admired), and we'll get that convertible outside for the girls (referring to his sister's three daughters, the Macdonald sisters)!".  The young salesman wilted, having missed the opportunity to sell the cars.

Proof that Bob Bryden owned Packard cars is found in 1945 letters from The Wartime Prices and Trade Board listing the “maximum lawful price” that could be paid to Bryden’s Estate for his two Packard cars, one of them,  a 1938 Model 1600 (see: Craigdarroch Castle Collection 2014.

The painter of this portrait was Arthur D.J. Pitts (1889-1972).  It was donated by the artist's widow, but delivered to Craigdarroch by artist Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher, a close friend and admirer of Pitts's work.  In a conversation with Craigdarroch's curator Bruce Davies, Hembroff-Schleicher expressed considerable praise for the artist's skill.

It is not known how Bob Bryden and Arthur D.J. Pitts became acquainted with one another. Towards the end of his life, Bob resided on West Saanich Road in Central Saanich. Pitts sometimes painted members of the Tsartlip and Tsawout First Nations and may have visited Bob's home while travelling in the area. Some of his paintings held by the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives can be seen by clicking on his name below.
History of Use
The full history of this painting is not known. It was donated by the artist's wife, Winnifred Pitts. The labels affixed to the backing paper of the frame suggest that the painting was sold from a commercial gallery as recently as the 1970's.
September 1 1933
Arthur D.J. Pitts
Robert Dunsmuir Bryden
By the artist's hand at lower left of the painting:

On the verso:
handwitten on an old oval-shaped fragment of matboard,

two cards for K. Michel Gallery;

hand-written on backing paper,
Watercolour Portrait of Bob Bryden by Arthur D.J. Pitts 1933  
Country of Origin

Related people/businesses/organizations
Arthur D.J. Pitts (artist)
Robert Dunsmuir Bryden (depicts)