Kilpin’s interest in Symbolist painting reveals an awareness
of art movements beyond Canada, and the works are striking for their
unique subject matter in the Canadian context of the time.
During the last two decades of the 19th century, many European artists
embraced Symbolism. Symbolist painters were interested in looking
beyond the “real” world to depict the fantastic, the visionary
and the imaginary. The inspirations for these painters included dreams,
literature, and spiritual movements that used séances and crystals
to communicate with the world beyond.