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February 26, 2003
Rare collection of decorative architectural moulds on display at Robarts Library, March 14 - August 15
Culture - The City of Toronto, in partnership with The University of Toronto's
Museum Studies program, announces an exhibit featuring the work of McCormack &
Carroll, a Toronto-based design firm that operated from the last years of the
nineteenth century to the late 1970s. A Matter of Style: Interior Ornamentation
by McCormack and Carroll will open on March 14, in the University of Toronto's
Robarts Library, and will run through to August 15.

The exhibit will include more than forty works and archival materials collected
by William McCormack and John Carroll throughout their careers as woodcarvers
and interior artisans. Many of the objects were preserved by existing family
members. The McCormack and Carroll company was best known for its production
of compo ornamentation, derived from a chalk- and resin-based substance that
was molded into intricate patterns and designs. These decorative details were
then affixed to furniture, ceilings, walls and other architectural structures.
The compo's ability to mimic wood allowed the material to often go unnoticed,
and gave the appearance that the objects and structures were actually carved.

The McCormack and Carroll company was commissioned to design unique carvings
and ornaments for many important Toronto buildings and structures, including
University College and Osgoode Hall. The dragon staircase at University
College is just one example of McCormack and Carroll's woodcarving and interior
decorating skill. The company's work can also be found in many homes
throughout Toronto, especially those of the Victorian and Beaux-Arts styles.
The exhibit will be of special interest to Toronto homeowners, some of whom may
unknowingly own McCormack and Carroll pieces.

The objects from the McCormack and Carroll collection were donated to the City
of Toronto in 1993. The collection includes over 5,000 carved wood blocks,
reverse moulds and composite casts. Through a partnership between the City of
Toronto and the University of Toronto's Museum Studies Program, this collection
was catalogued and researched. This exhibition will be the first opportunity
for public access to the collection.

A Matter of Style: Interior Ornamentation by McCormack and Carroll will be
housed in the exhibit space on the second floor of Robarts Library, located at
130 St. George St. on the University of Toronto's St. George campus. The
exhibit space is open Mondays to Thursdays
9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to
5 p.m. Additional information about the library can be obtained by calling the
Access and Information Department at 416-978-5352. School groups are welcome
and can be booked by contacting the Museum Studies Program via email at Admission to the exhibit is free.

The City of Toronto's Historical Collection was started in 1881, and is as
diverse and fascinating as the history of the City. The collection has grown to
over 100,000 historical objects and works of art. These objects date largely
from the 18th century onwards. They are material witnesses of the lives of
Torontonians, from new immigrants to leading families, holding the keys to many

Museums and Heritage Services, part of the City's Culture Division, is
responsible for the ongoing acquisition, care, research and interpretation of
the art works and objects that are part of the Historical Collection and for
close to a million archaeological objects. This collection is a treasure to be
conserved and managed for future generations.

There is growing public interest in Toronto's history. The exhibition A Matter
of Style: Interior Ornamentation by McCormack and Carroll will tell an
important chapter in the Toronto story and celebrate the lives of Torontonians
past and present. This exhibition is one of the City's many projects to make
the collection available to the widest possible audience.

Media Contact
Museum Studies Program



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