Georgian Bay, Ontario signed 'BANTING' (lower right) oil on panel 27 x 34.5cm (10 5/8 x 13 5/8in).
Sir Frederick Grant Banting, KBE, MC, FRS, FRSC was a Canadian medical scientist, doctor and painter, arguably most famous for his discovery of insulin. The youngest of five children, he initially wanted to join the army but was refused due to poor eyesight. He attended the University of Toronto to study Divinity, but soon transferred to Medicine, graduating in 1916. After enlisting in the Canadian Army Medical Corps, Banting was awarded the Military Cross for heroism at the Battle of Cambrai, 1918, as despite himself having been wounded, he continued to help other injured men for sixteen hours until a fellow doctor persuaded him to stop. Returning to Canada after World War I, he studied orthopaedic medicine and became Resident Surgeon at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in 1920-21. He lectured pharmacology at the University of Toronto in 1921-22, for which he received his M.D. degree and a gold medal.
Banting grew interested in painting in about 1921, becoming friends with the Group of Seven artists, sharing their love of the rugged Canadian landscape. He made several sketching trips with Alexander Young Jackson to different parts of Canada. In 1924 Banting married Marion Robertson, by whom he had one child, William (b. 1928), however they divorced in 1932 and he later married Henrietta Ball in 1937. After reading an article about the pancreas, Banting began to study diabetes, eventually leading to his discovery of insulin. This landmark scientific breakthrough not only changed the lives of many, but also resulted in Banting receiving the Nobel Prize in 1923. To date, he is the youngest Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. In 1934 he was knighted by King George V. He died in a plane crash in 1941, and is buried with his wife at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.
A Flame of Hope was lit in 1989 in Sir Frederick Banting Square in London, Ontario, Canada, as a tribute to Banting and to all those who have lost their lives to diabetes. The flame will remain lit until a cure for diabetes in discovered.