Margaret Derry is an established artist, a historian with a PhD. from the University of Toronto, and a successful breeder of purebred cattle. After completing her Masters degree in American history in 1970 she embarked on a career of art and children. A painter in watercolours and oils, she was represented by a number of Toronto galleries, two of which were in the Yorkville district, in the 1980s and 90s. She held a number of sole artist exhibitions. These paintings are known for their development of themes around children and cattle in the Caledon countryside in which she resides. Throughout that time she had considerable success as a breeder and exhibitor of purebred Murray Grey and later Shorthorn cattle, winning many awards at fairs, including the Grand Champion Bull, Grand Champion Female and Best Breeder’s Herd of cattle at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto a number of times, Champion Bull Calf at Agribition in Regina, and a number of championships at the Ohio State Fair Although she no longer keeps cattle on her Caledon farm, she remains active as half owner of a small herd of Shorthorns located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. In 2018 Hot Verona was Supreme Shorthorn Champion at the Royal.
The 2000s brought Margaret back to the academic world and she completed her Doctorate in history, with specialties in Canadian and modern British history, as well as historical geography. However, her other interests led her to increasingly focus her research and writing on rural history and the development of ideas and initiatives for improvement of animals, from both a historical and a practical point of view. She is concerned with the cultural and technological themes of purebred animal breeding, evident over time. Margaret has also spent her summers from childhood near Killarney, a village on northern Georgian Bay. This has led to a lifelong love, reflected in her books on this subject.
An adjunct professor at the History Department of the University of Guelph, Associated Faculty, Campbell Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, and a former Associated Scholar of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto, Margaret supervises graduate students, publishes pertinent scholarly work and more popular history, and gives guest lectures in her field of expertise.
Over the years she has given many presentations. A few are: The Idea of Breed at Uppsala University, Sweden; Chicken Breeding at Utrecht University in the Netherlands; horse breeding at the American Historical Association Conference in New Orleans; and the interface of genetics with livestock breeding at the Agricultural History Society Conference at Lexington. She will talk in 2019 about quantitative genetics in Paris and Arabian Horses in California.
Ten years ago Margaret, while still actively researching and writing on her books and articles, found the opportunity created by digital imagery a compelling reason to also return to her roots in art. The advent of digital photography, new sophisticated painting programs such as Photoshop, Painter and Artrage enabled digital imagery that opened new horizons in art that she had to explore. With the advantage of her detailed knowledge of painting technique, she was able to experiment and explore these new opportunities. The images provided on this website are a sample of what she has been able to accomplish. And the digital medium enables her to provide these images framed, on canvas on a cost effective basis.
Douglas Derry, FCPA, FCA is a corporate director living in Caledon, Ontario.
As time permits he also writes biographies.