The Rev. Canon
Richard was born in 1848 in Burlington, Ontario where he was educated in a classical school taught by his father on the family homestead. In 1866, he went to Trinity College in Toronto.
About 1878, while serving as the 2nd Curate at St. James’ Cathedral, he studied painting with Otto Reinhard Jacobi, formerly of the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany.
In 1879, Richard held an exhibition at the Toronto Industrial Exhibition. Some of his early works were found in a sketchbook of watercolours from 1880 and 1881. He had been painting landscapes in Niagara, Burlington, Hamilton, and Toronto.
In November 1888, the Rev. Richard Greene became the incumbent at St. James’ Anglican Church in Orillia. Here he founded the Orillia Sketch Club which held exhibitions at the Orillia Fall Fair. Members often made sketching trips in the country side on their bicycles. Franklin Carmichael took painting lessons with Richard and in 1911 moved to Toronto to study at the
Ontario College of Art. He later joined the Group of Seven. Ada Greenland had also studied with Richard and in Toronto. She later returned to Orillia to open the first art studio in the town.
In 1903, the Rev. Canon Greene presented the church with an eagle lectern which he had carved himself. In 1905, it was rescued during the fire that destroyed the church.
In 1911, the Rev. Canon Greene left Orillia and returned to the Toronto area where he continued
sketching and painting. He made a number of trips to Georgian Bay and Muskoka.
While painting a portrait of Stephen Leacock, Richard was reported to have asked if he was the
model for Dean Drone in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, but Stephen declined to reply.
In 1923, Richard held a sale of his paintings at the Musson Book Shop in Toronto and used the
proceeds to pay for a four month long sketching trip to the United Kingdom. About this time,
he also served on the design selection committee for the Champlain Monument erected in
Orillia. One of Richard’s paintings in the church parlour was dated 1927.
Richard died in 1934 at the age of 86 and his obituary reported that in his latter years he had
spent most of his time painting nature scenes.