The house to which Elizabeth Beckwith Hazen returned was located at 750 Brunswick Street (61 K), in the downtown area of Fredericton. There, she lived with her mother, father, maternal grand-mother, aunt, brother Harry, her own two children, two servants and an occasional boarder. With such a busy household to contend with, Elizabeth sought solitude with her art. "Drawing from nature" gave her the opportunity to seek quiet spots around the city - nearby streams, the campus of the University of New Brunswick and the river were evidently favored.
Elizabeth worked in several media including watercolour, oil and crayon. By the 1870s she was showing her paintings and drawings at the Provincial Exhibition in the "Amateur Fine Arts" category. Her work was frequently placed in the "highest order" by the local judges who praised it as "rich in color," "correct in perspective," and "eloquent of skill." A more critical artistic eye would, no doubt, find much to fault in her art; however, she did produce, as one gentleman of the day expressed it, "a very pleasing natural effect" which can still be appreciated.
It is likely that both of her children shared her enthusiasm for botany. Certainly her son John Douglas shared his mother's love of flowers as well as her "initiative" and cleverness. John Douglas, who was later knighted, graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1879. He successively held the positions of Mayor of Fredericton (1888), M.P. for Saint John (1891-1896), Premier of New Brunswick (1908-1911), Minister of Marine, Fisheries and Naval Affairs (1911-1917), Member of the Imperial Council and War Cabinet (1917), and Chief Justice of New Brunswick (1917-1935). Despite his busy political and judicial career John Douglas also served as President of the Saint John Horticultural Society.
On her death in 1935, Elizabeth was one of the Fredericton's oldest and most distinguished citizens. Listed in her obituary as "a treasured possession" were her paintings of "some 200 wild flowers of New Brunswick," a lasting legacy to her native province.
These paintings are currently held by Archives and Special Collections, a department of the Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick.
Linda Squiers Hansen
Archives and Special Collections
University of New Brunswick