Frank Porter Wood

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Frank Porter Wood in 1924.

Frank Porter Wood (29 June 1882 – 20 March 1955) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. He is best remembered for his many gifts and bequests of artworks to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

Life and career[edit]

Wood was born in Peterborough, Ontario, to Canadian immigrants of mixed parentage: his father was Irish (John W. Wood) and his mother was Scottish (Jane Porter). He married Emma Matilda Junkin in 1906 and had three daughters: Mary (Mollie) Dorothy Porter Wood, Frances (Franie) Junkin Wood and Joyce Rogers Wood.

In 1897, he started working in Peterborough as a clerk for the Central Canada Loan and Savings Company, established by Senator George Albertus Cox. In 1899, Wood moved to Montreal to work for the National Trust Company, incorporated a year earlier by Cox and Wood's brother, Edward Rogers Wood. Later in life, he became a Vice-President of the National Trust.

In 1903, Wood started up, with Sir Frank Wilton Baillie and his brother James W. Baillie, a brokerage firm called Baillie Brothers and Company (later Baillie, Wood, and Croft), which operated on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 1910, Wood became President of Burlington Steel. In 1912, the Bankers’ Bond Company Limited was formed to succeed Baillie, Wood, and Croft.

Late in 1914, Wood and Sir Frank Baillie collaborated with the owners of the Chadwick Brass Company in Hamilton to set up the large Canadian Cartridge Company Limited, of which Sir Frank Baillie became President and Wood Vice-President. Until his death in 1955, Wood continued to participate in the Canadian business community as a financier.

Wood's home on Bayview Avenue that now houses the Crescent School.


Wood and his family were consummately modest; they never spoke of their accolades and were quickly forgotten. Wood, however, will be remembered not for his business accomplishments but for his love of the arts and philanthropy. To this date, he is still the single most generous donor to the Art Gallery of Ontario. "He is given a place of honour among the earlier collectors of Old Master paintings in Toronto", according to David McTavish of Queen’s University and a former curator of the Art Gallery of Toronto.

Wood was a client of Sir Joseph Duveen. Like most of Duveen's clients, Wood donated his paintings to public institutions, including his residence that was distinguished by its Beaux-Arts architecture (influenced and built by William Adams Delano) and which now houses the Crescent School.

"The Harvest Wagon" by Thomas Gainsborough, donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1955 by Wood.

He died on 20 March 1955 in Toronto, and his major bequests to the Art Gallery of Ontario included: The Harvest Wagon by Thomas Gainsborough, Daedalus Warning His Son Icarus by Anthony van Dyck, A Portrait of Dr. Joseph Joachim by John Singer Sargent, Portrait of a Gentleman, Isaak Abrahamsz Massa by Frans Hals, Lady with a Lap Dog by Rembrandt van Rijn, and Portrait of Vincent Laurensz van der Vinne by Frans Hals.

Other paintings owned or donated by Wood included artists such as: Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, Lambert Sustris, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Maurice Utrillo, Claude Monet, Aelbert Cuyp, Auguste Rodin, Francesco Raibolini (known as Francia), Jacopo Comin (Tintoretto), Tiziano Vecelli and Jacob van Ruisdael, to mention only a few.


  • McTavish, D. (1998). Campbell, Sheila D., ed. From Rembrandt to Renoir in Toronto: Frank P. Wood's role as private collector, public adviser and munificent patron. The private collector and the public institution. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Art Centre. pp. 12–32. ISBN 0-7727-0644-1.
  • Secrest, Meryle (2004). Duveen: A Life in Art. Alfred Knopf. pp. 298, 441–442, 448, 493, 517. ISBN 0-375-41042-2.
  • Waterhouse, E. K. (Nov 1946). "A Gainsborough Bill for the Prince of Wales". The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. London, UK: The Burlington Magazine Publications, Ltd. 88 (524): 276. JSTOR 869412.
  • Slive, Seymour (2002). Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings, and Etchings. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-300-08972-4.
  • Art Gallery of Toronto (1956). "Three Paintings: The Frank P. Wood Bequest". Toronto, ON: Art Gallery of Toronto.
  • Peraino, Judith Ann (2005). Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 214. ISBN 0-520-21587-7.
  • Brown, George William; David M. Hayne; Francess G. Halpenny; Ramsay Cook (1966). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-8020-9087-7.
  • McCall, George Henry; Adriaan Jacob Barnouw (2005). Paintings by the Great Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century. Toronto, ON: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 116. ISBN 1-4179-9740-0.
  • Clason, W.H. (1920). Catalogue of a loan collection of paintings : contributed by private collectors and public institutions in the city of Toronto from January 6th till February 8th, 1920. Toronto, ON: Art Gallery of Toronto. pp. 7–8, 11–13, 20, 24.

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