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Henry G. Glyde was a key player in the development of the visual arts in Alberta over a thirty-year period beginning in 1935. He first studied art at the Brassey Institute of Arts and Sciences. While at Brassey, he met and developed a friendship with fellow artist Alfred Leighton, a man who would greatly influence his life. Leighton was a commercial artist who did brochures and posters for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1926 Glyde applied for and was accepted into studies at the Royal College of Art in London completing his studies in 1930. While in his last year he began teaching art at the college and after college he took a position teaching art at the High Wycombe School of Arts and Crafts. He exhibited with the Royal Academy in London between 1931 and 1933 and the Royal Society of British Artists.
In the spring of 1935, his friend Leighton, who was teaching at the Provincial Institute of Art and Technology in Calgary (now the Alberta College of Art), invited him to come to Canada to teach drawing. He and his family initially agreed to come for a year but they decided to stay on after the year was up. He joined the Alberta Society of Artists and in 1936 became the director of the Fine Arts School in Banff. In 1938 he was asked to take over as the head of the art department of the Provincial Institute when Leighton resigned due to poor health. He began to develop art programs for both the Provincial Institute of Art and Technology and the Banff School of Fine Arts and he was involved in organizing the Calgary Allied Arts Centre. In 1937 at the behest of Dr.Carpenter, the head of the Provincial Institute, he began teaching community art classes in smaller rural communities where there was no art instruction. For the first six years he and Walter Phillips shared teaching all these classes while he continued to paint and exhibit. He was very much involved in the growing artistic community and lent his support to the establishment of the first commercial gallery in Calgary, Canadian Art Galleries. During the war the National Gallery commissioned him together with A.Y.Jackson, to make studies and drawings of the construction of the Alaska Highway. By now he had regular exhibitions in Calgary, and his work had been shown in Eastern Canada at the Royal Canadian Academy and the Ontario Society of Artists. In 1945 he took over from A.C.Leighton as the president of the Alberta Society of Artists.
After the war he was invited to assist in building up the Fine Art Department at the University of Alberta. He moved to Edmonton and led that department for 20 years turning it into a nationally respected art school. Meanwhile he continued to provide art education in the rural areas of the province through the Department of Extension and was also the curator of the University Art Gallery and Museum. In 1948 the Alberta Government established the Alberta Visual Arts Board and he was elected Chairman, a position he held until 1955. In 1949 he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy and for a time was the National President of the Federation of Canadian Artists, representing Alberta on the Canadian Arts Council and a member of the Canadian Graphic Arts Society.
He retired from the University and the Banff School of Fine Arts in 1966 and for his contributions to the visual arts in Alberta he was given the University of Alberta National Award followed by an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 1982. After his retirement he and his wife moved to Pender Island, British Columbia, where he continued to paint until his death in 1998 at the age of 91.
He is best known for oil paintings of figures and landscapes as well as murals. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Toronto Art Gallery and many other public and private collections.