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During 1951 and 1955, she received a number of Royal Commissions and ten prestigious awards from the Royal Horticultural Society. She held many exhibitions, including a one-person showing of 200 paintings of Canadian Wild Flowers at the Cooling Galleries in London. She was invited to show at Canada House and B.C. House. She was asked to contribute five pages to the 150 year old Royal Autograph Album, becoming the only artist to be represented more than once.

Hon. Lewis Palmer, Treasurer of the Royal Horticultural Society, honored Emily at a dinner by reciting how she was the first person ever to paint a rare orchid that bloomed only once every twenty years. She also painted, amongst other British wildflowers, The Glastonbury Thorn in bloom at Christmas at the mystical place of fairies and the resting place of King Arthur.

Her paintings have been published on greeting cards by Coutts Hallmark in Canada and Fine Arts Publishing in Great Britain. These are now collector’s items as are her calendars and stationery. Her illustrations have appeared in books, newspapers and magazines. She was a household name in Canada during the 1940’s to 1970’s. Her paintings were included in many exhibitions, her first being at the Vancouver Art Gallery during 1939. Her exhibitions of representative Canadian art pre-dated the much touted 2011 exhibition in London by the Group of Seven by sixty years.

Her most notable achievement is that, she as a woman artist in a supposedly man’s world, supported herself from the sale of her art for 60 years. She did not have any other source of income from employment, nor did she teach art lessons, like most other Canadian artists of that same period. The public voted for her artistic excellence with their wallets.

See Preliminary List of Exhibitions.

medals awarded
The following lists the Medals awarded to Emily Sartain by two separate British organizations.


ONLY PERSON TO HAVE BEEN ASKED TO SUBMIT FIVE PAGES TO THE ROYAL AUTOGRAPH ALBUM IN OVER 150 YEAR HISTORY SINCE KING GEORGE III. Previous to Sartin’s significant contributions, the Royal Autograph Album contained only 35 pages.

Actual medals

Bronze Grenfell Medal

26th January, 1937

Bronze Grenfell Medal

30th November 1937

Bronze Grenfell Medal

13th December 1938

Living in Canada 1939 - 1951

Gold Grenfell Medal

29th January 1952

Silver Grenfell Medal

20th January 1953

Silver-Gilt Grenfell Medal

10th January 1954

Silver Grenfell Medal

25th January 1955

Silver Grenfell Medal

24th January 1956

Returned to Canada 1956 to 1961

Silver Grenfell Medal

28th November 1961

Silver Grenfell Medal

23rd January 1962

Returned to Canada

Winchester Horticultural Society (certificates only)

Gold Medal

11th & 12th November 1954

Silver Medal

7th & 8th September 1955

Gold Medal

10th & llth November 1955

The medals and certificates were inherited by Sartain’s heirs in England.