THE IMAGINARIUM GALLERY - Marion Maud Finnigan - Harding - Artist


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Herewith, memorabilia from Marion's life including people and places that have had an effect upon her creative and life processes.
By its very nature, this page is 'in progress' and Marion welcomes feedback from anyone involved!

Mikhail Horbal - Marion's Grandfather

Marion's Grandparents

Marion's Grandparents

Mikhail and Maria Horbal who had come from Austria in 1905 and moved to the Fraser Valley, BC prior to migrating out to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. They were the parents of Marion's mother Anastasia and Mikhail retired from the Austrian Cavalry to become a farmer in his newly adopted land; Canada. However, business required him to make frequent visits back to Austria which had by this time now become Russia. 

Thomas Pounder Finnigan and Eileen Ricketts
Marion's Irish Grandfather and her Aunt

Thomas was a performer of traditional Irish dancing and his daughter accompanied him on the piano. This photo was taken outside Grosvenor House in London at a private function.

Dublin - 1916
Marion's Father, Uncle and Paternal Grandmother

Marion's Father - Bobby Finnigan (on the left), Uncle Thomas (on the right) and Grandmother Margaret Finnigan in 1919.

Bobby Finnigan - 1942

Bobby Finnigan - April 5th,1959
Marion's father

Marion's Father - Bobby Finnigan had been born in Ireland and then moved to Canada circa 1928, paying his way over by playing the piano night and day on the ship! He had desperately wanted to enter the War as a pilot but was completely deaf in one ear and therefore prevented from doing so. However, his genius for mechanics had him at MacDonald Airport building and repairing Harvards during the war prior to re-training as a psychiatric nurse and working for the rest of his life in Manitoba.

Marion's Irish Grandfather
Thomas Pounder-Finnigan (in his youth in Kilkenny)

Marion's Mother
Anastasia - 1934

Marion's mother Anastasia as a young woman, prior to her marriage. A woman of mystery without endeavouring to be who carried many secrets with her throughout life and on into the afterlife. Considered a difficult woman, she was also incredibly kind and generous. She was also a painter herself and included here are two of her works.

Landscape - Anastasia
Oil On Wood

Flowers - Anastasia
Oil On Wood

Marion with her dog 'Butch' in 1946
Portage la Prairie - House built by father and Mom's grandfather

Water Tower

An image that haunted Marion from her earliest childhood, circa 1945 - Portage La Prairie. The image lodged itself in Marion's memory and conjures up sculptural echoes with its ice and snow. However, the tall edifice was to further trigger sculptural images when the artist later visited Venice. She recalls that 'it wasn't until a later holiday in Venice that such disturbing recollections from childhood took on a visceral quality'.

Landscape of Lake and Mountain - 1950

G.R. George was Marion's art teacher at school and painted this landscape for her as a present in 1950 when she was 13 years old. The work was her first collected work and formed the starting point for her life long career in art and her private collection. She treasures it to this day for it reminds her of the work of theosophist Nicholas Roerich as well as the impact that a singular act of kindness can have upon an enthusiastic and talented young mind.

3 Stages Of Consciousness

Photo of a sculpture circa 1992 - '3 Stages Of Consciousness'. 48" x 40" x 40" - The wood frame supports screaming figures constructed from clay, straw and sand. The work calls to mind Marion's painting 'Equilibrium' and represents the pain inherent within the process of sentience and its pre-requisite, transformative conclusions. Does spirituality aid and comfort such growth or perhaps facilitate it?

Graduation as an RN

Marion graduated from the St. Boniface School of Nursing, Winnipeg in 1958 - one year before moving to England and marrying Dr. Ernst Friedrich Blumberg (son of the famous German Doctor Jacob Moritz Blumberg - inventor of the Blumberg Sign). She not only married Ernst but also worked for him in his Practice in London and painted when time permitted. She further modelled for other artists on the vibrant Chelsea scene of the early 1960's London.

Marion moving to England on the Homeric
Spring 1959

Marion went to England in the Spring of 1959 aboard the Homeric liner and is standing in the middle.

Marion painting circa 1960 - London, England

Marion painting Maria Ferdensi - 1960

Marion In The Studio 1990's (Canada)

Home Studio

Both top photographs show Marion painting in 1960. The second one shows her painting a portrait of friend Maria Ferdensi who was a patient of her husband. In between painting and nursing Marion also found time to model for illustrious artists such as Arthur Pan and H.A. Freeth amongst others. With her first husband she encountered Pablo Picasso in France. The next two photos reveal Marion at work decades later in Canada.

Marion and her First Husband - On Holiday 1961

Dr. Ernst Blumberg's Treatise

Inside fly leaf

Marion met Ernst while nursing one of his private patients within days of her arrival in England. She was fascinated by his family history and amazed to discover he had his own radium clinic. The radium having been obtained from the Curies themselves through his father's clinic in Berlin. As a Canadian trained RN she was eager to become a part of her husband's pioneering medical methods. She worked with him on a daily basis learning to handle the radium herself.

On Holiday - 1961

Marion not only nursed in Dr. Blumberg's Clinics at 137 Harley Street and in Chelsea, London but married and travelled with him. They Honeymooned on the Island of Capri in Italy and travelled to Spain to enjoy the Gaudi architecture in Barcelona.

J & J Electronics Catalogue - 1976

J. & J. Electronics founded in Winnipeg Canada and London, England in 1964 was one of Canada's pioneering electronic companies. It sold to individuals, institutions and the armed forces across North America until the 1980's and maintained excellent working relationships with companies including Fairchild Semiconductors. The company was named after its founders Antony John Harding and Joshua Raphael the latter who had come from a long line of Jewish Egyptian silk merchants whose entire family John Harding was legal counsel for in England. John and Joshua set up the company when John moved to Canada with Marion as he had a sound grounding in electronics as a result of his Royal Air Force training in radar. John Harding initially worked as Business Administrator for the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1964. As can be seen from the 1976 catalogue cover Marion not only worked for the company but was responsible for its aesthetic image and public relations.

Dr. Ferdinand Eckhart and John Harding (Right)
1964 - Winnipeg Art Gallery

Ruan In 'Whites'
Circa 1977

I loved the name 'Ruan' when I first heard it and then came into contact with a close friend of my first husband. He had for many years been a very close friend of Winifred Ellerman (Bryher) who wrote the book Ruan which means 'Running Water' in Celtic.

By Bryher

Click here to download file on Winifred Ellerman (Bryher)

Ruan went to the University Of Sussex in 1982 and studied Biology for a couple of years prior to tranferring to Music. He met Ruth Whittal at Bexhill College and was looking for a military sponsorship for his studies. He got a grant and began studying with John Maynard-Smith.

Ruth and Ruan

In 1984 Ruan visited New York to stay with the Argentian composer Carlos Rausch and his wife Anna. In 1985 he travelled to Vienna with the family and was permitted to play for a while on Beethoven's pianoforte.

Ruan and Violinist Anna Rausch in New York
Painting on right is their original Kandinsky

Ruan at Beethoven's piano
Vienna - 1985

University of Sussex Graduation
Ruan Joshua Harding - 1987 B.A. (hons) Music

Ruan and Artist John Holdcroft in Portugal

London in the 1990's

Ruan meeting with Pope Saint John Paul II
Baptism in St. Peter's Basillica - Easter Vigil, April 11th 1998

Ruan had the rare experience to be baptized, anointed (Confirmed) and First Communion in a triple ceremony on the night of the Easter Vigil, April 11th 1998 with Pope Saint John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basillica, Vatican City. The ceremonial Mass lasted three hours and was televised globally through Centro Televisivo Vaticano broadcasting.

Confirmation of Joshua - 1998
Ceremony in St. Peters with Pope Saint John Paul II

Ruan, Chiara and family in the Vatican Gardens

Ruan took his then family on a tour of the Vatican Gardens in 2005 when visiting Italy to see his then daughter.

Click on the Molimerx catalogue to see an interesting blog entry.

Molimerx Catalogue - 1980

In 1976 John and Marion were back in England at the outset of the computer industry. They set up England's first and largest computer software company; Molimerx Ltd. The company went onto publish over 600 programs and books and at their zenith had 150 programmers under contract including Brian Howarth. As well as dealing personally with noted luminaries in the industry including Bill Gates, Lord Alan Sugar and Sir Clive Sinclair, Molimerx also undertook large scale custom programs for multi-nationals including Esso.

Book commissioned by Virgin
Writing Software For Profit - A. J. Harding

click here to download back cover

'Advice for hopeful software superstars

ANYONE caught giving away the trade secrets of an industry would normally be regarded with suspicion by co-workers in that field. The culprit in this case, A J Harding with his book Writing Software For Profit, is, however, likely to be blessed by colleagues in the software industry and amateur programmers who want to get their ideas into the shops.

The book, published by Virgin Books, not only shows how to approach the business side of the operation - going to software houses, writing specific application programs and dealing with income tax - but also describes the ideas behind the industry, which types of programs are likely to be accepted and how to go about writing them.'

Virgin Books commissioned and published this book 31 years ago but the information in it is still pertinent today for this rapidly accelerated industry.

Working on Musical Scores for Molimerx Programs
Ruan at his father's home office in 1981

The Magical Claudine

Marion's best friend of fifty years; the magician and entertainer Claudine Chandler. Claudine was the assistant to her famous Magician, Ventriloquist and President of The Magic Circle father (Claude Chandler) before becoming a name in her own right. Claudine still performs and lectures for The Magic Circle to this day!

Canadian Concert Pianist Jane Coop

Music In The Mountains

Concert Pianist Jane Coop who worked with Marion on the 'Music In The Mountains' Masterclass series. Marion and Jane had the music finalists in the mountain retreat center listen to music, then paint spontaneously and then improvise on the piano works based upon their own pictorial representations. It was one of the great joys in Marion's career so far as she got to bring music to life! Music manuscript features within Marion's work and she is an accomplished pianist herself.

Ted and Kathleen Maiman

Ted Maiman, creator of the Laser, and his beautiful wife Kathleen at an exhibition with Marion. Ted passed away recently but the couple have always remained within Marion's closest circle of friends and collected her work for many years. Ted is sadly missed.

'Firebird' - On display in the Romanov Gallery

Marion's painting of the 'Firebird' centered between Chinese artist Xue's work in the Romanov Gallery, Vancouver in 1998. Once upon a time managed by that well known Vancouverite and wag Pavlik Stoochnoff.

Vienna - 1985

Marion and Ruan on holiday in Vienna

A family holiday photo from Vienna in 1985 where Marion attended 'The Magic Flute' at the Statsoper and enjoyed hot chocolate and Sacher Tort in the Hotel Europa!


"BackBench" has appeared daily for almost twenty years in the Globe and Mail, both as a comic strip and a panel cartoon...'the BACKBENCH collection' by Graham Harrop is now available at your favourite bookstore! Graham has been a friend for many years and Marion concurs completely with Dan Murphy, editorial cartoonist for the Vancouver Province when he writes that "Graham Harrop has what most cartoonists dream of - an unfettered imagination, a sublime silliness and as graceful way with words as with pen and brush."



Christmas in Kelowna


John Hambleton Holdcroft is a British painter who dedicated his life to art following a stint in the elite 'Blackwatch' Regiment. He went onto become Head of the Arts Faculty in Hastings College, England and lived with his partner Valerie Olson who was Head of Fashion in the same institution. This painting reflects his love for Madeira where he has been commissioned by the Banks of Funchal and Portugal among many others.

Painting by John Hambleton HoldCroft
An old friend


John Hambleton Holdcroft


Gertrude Stein Wearing A Red Hat
Marion's friend Rachel Berman

Malcolm Romney

Malcolm Romney was created by Marion's son Ruan to scare pigeons off of a terrace. Malcolm is an effigy and multi-tasks to serve other ends. He is constructed from a single piece of wood, papier-mache, cardboard, plastic bags and a coathanger. He has been consecrated as per private beliefs and customs. Essentially, Malcolm is representational of chimeric beings and spirits both airborne and aquatic.