Fonds SC036 - Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

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Reference code

CA ON00012 SC036

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1831-2010, predominant 1900-1965 (Creation)
    Bagnani, Gilbert, 1900-1985
    Port Hope
  • 1831-2010, predominant 1900-1965 (Creation)
    Bagnani, Mary Augusta Stewart, 1903-1996

Physical description area

Physical description

3,207 photographs
1.2 m of textual records
28 cm of graphic material

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Gilbert Forrest Bagnani (1900-1985) was a professor of ancient history. He was born in Rome to General Ugo Bagnani and Florence Dewar. He served as a Second Lieutenant of artillery towards the end of World War I. After the War he returned to the University of Rome where he received his doctorate. Instead of entering law as he had planned, he turned to the Italian School of Archaeology in Athens to study antiquities. In 1929 Gilbert married Mary Augusta Stewart Houston (1903-1996) of Toronto, daughter of Stewart Houston (editor of "The Financial Post") and Augusta Robinson (daughter of John Beverley Robinson, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and granddaughter of Sir John Beverley Robinson, Chief Justice and Attorney-General of Upper Canada). Gilbert and Stewart had an apartment in Rome and for seven seasons worked, in the Sahara Desert, with the Royal Archaeological Mission to Egypt. In 1937 they fled fascist Italy and purchased a 200 acre farm and house built around 1845 near Port Hope, Ontario and named it "Vogrie". In 1945 Gilbert was invited to teach ancient history at the University of Toronto and in 1958 became a Professor. He retired from the University of Toronto in 1965. The Bagnanis returned to "Vogrie". In the same year, Gilbert was asked to accept a term-appointment at Trent University. He was honoured with a LL.D. by Trent in 1971 and he continued to teach as a Professor of Ancient History until 1975.

Name of creator

Custodial history

Materials now constituting the Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani fonds were donated by Mrs. Bagnani to the Art Gallery of Ontario after her husband's death in 1985. After Stewart Bagnani's death in 1996, the heir to her house in Toronto, Nancy Robertson Dillow, donated correspondence she found there to the AGO (1997 and 2000). The country estate, Vogrie, was inherited by Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, which subsequently sold archival material not retained by the university at auction. Some of this material, including glass photographic slides and negatives and the film of the Egyptian expedition, was obtained by Eleanor Currie (who had been hired to catalogue the contents of Vogrie) and given to the AGO. The album of postage stamps was similarly obtained by bookseller Hugh Anson-Cartwright, from whom it was purchased by Larry Pfaff, who gave it to the AGO.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of personal and professional records created by Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani and their families, chiefly in Europe, North Africa, and Canada, for the most part between ca. 1910 and 1955, comprising photographs of Gilbert Bagnani's travels and archaeological work in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Libya and Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s; a motion picture of his activities in and around Tebtunis in Egypt in 1934; correspondence between the Bagnanis themselves, Gilbert Bagnani's mother Florence Bagnani and other family members; photos of the families of Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani, including 19th-century photo portraits of their Dewar, Houston, and Robinson relatives; a collection of copy prints and glass slides of art and antiquities used by Dr. Bagnani in his university teaching; audio recordings of Dr. Bagnani lecturing; albums of clippings and memorabilia of family and social events; miscellaneous printed, typescript and manuscript items; photos of the Bagnanis at Trent University in the 1980s; an album of postage stamps; and other material.

Contains series:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Family photographs
  3. Archaeological and travel photographs
  4. Art history images
  5. Albums and scrapbooks
  6. Miscellaneous records

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Stewart Bagnani between 1985 and 1991; correspondence given by Nancy Dillow in 1997 and 2000; slides, motion pictures and sound recordings donated by Eleanor Currie 1996-1998. An album of postage stamps was donated by Larry Pfaff in 2008.


Language of material

  • English
  • Italian

Script of material

    Location of originals

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    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Copyright has been transferred to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

    Finding aids

    A detailed finding aid is available.

    Associated materials

    Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, and the Peterborough (Ont.) Museum & Archives hold archival records of Gilbert and Stewart Bagnani.

    Related materials


    No further accruals are expected.

    General note

    Titles of series, files and items are supplied and based on their contents except where noted.


    Motion picture film recorded by Gilbert Bagnani in the 1930s was re-recorded in 1998 and 2010 for purposes of conservation.

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    Dates of creation, revision and deletion

    June 5, 2012
    August 8, 2013

    Language of description

    • English

    Script of description


      Accession area