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A Few of Our Favourite Things – Drawing Lots

The AGO Visitor Welcome Managers speak about their favourite artworks from the AGO Collection.

Drawing Lots – George Agnew Reid

George Agnew Reid. Drawing Lots, 1888-1902. Oil on canvas, Overall (framed triptych): 118.2 x 319.8 cm. Gift of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto, 1995. © Art Gallery of Ontario 95/357

By Jonathan Thomas, Assistant Manager, Visitor Welcome

This piece, currently not on display, really pleases me whenever I see it.  I am whisked back 45ish years on a wave of nostalgia.  I can just about feel the warmth of the sun radiating from the bricks and I can almost hear the hiss of June bugs on the air and bicycles whizzing by with folded baseball cards in their spokes, bells jangling wildly.  I reach into the dusty compartments of my memory, back to the long summer days, when our play from sunup to sundown was only interrupted by the chorus of mothers calling out: “lunch” and then “dinner”. 

Why are they “Drawing Lots”?  I used to do this (well rock, paper, scissors) with my friends when we had to go ask for our ball back from a neighbour’s yard, it always seemed to land in the yard of the neighbour who most hated children…and it was inevitably me who ended up knocking on the door. 

I am sure that many would walk by this without paying it any attention, but it speaks to me, it has an emotional impact.

I am not an art expert, by any means, so I am unable to quantify its merit as a great (or even good piece of art)…but does that really matter when something touches your heart?

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