I have only a few photographs in my collection but I acquired one the other day that qualifies as art as well as history. Being a Canadian living in England this photo intrigued me because of where it came from.
I purchased the photograph because it was taken in Montreal. Beneath the portrait a signature ‘Arthur’ appears as well as June 1870. This means it was taken just 3 years after Canada as a nation was formed.
The photographer was #JamesInglis (1835-1904). Born in Scotland, James Inglis began his photographic career in St. Catherines, Ontario and opened his Montreal, Quebec studio in 1866. By 1871 his well established studio employed 25 staff with 2 photographers, two artists, and 1 retoucher. In 1875, Inglis moved his shop and set up just feet away from his main competitor, William Notman. The McCord Museum in Montreal has a wonderful collection of photographs by William Notman. In 1884, Inglis moved to Chicago and later died in 1904 in an accidental explosion during an experiment.
The subject in this portrait is #ArthurWilliamPatrickAlbert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn. He was the seventh child of Queen Victoria and third son – supposedly her favourite. Prince Arthur was a career soldier. His regiment spent a year in Montreal and he served on the Red River expedition in 1870. He rose in rank and in 1902 was promoted to Field Marshal. Prince Arthur later returned to Canada as Governor-General. The first royal to hold the position. The Duke served as Governor-General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. He clearly had great affection for the country and was very popular. Many Canadian places and institutions were named after him.
A little piece of Canada’s history and art as well.