I-27658.1 | Mrs. J.W. Fowler and harp, Montreal, QC, 1867

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Mrs. J.W. Fowler and harp, Montreal, QC, 1867
William Notman (1826-1891)
1867, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  female (19035) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

At the time of Confederation, it took less than two weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean by steamship and train travel was beginning to open up the West. The young Dominion was developing a sense of identity and was looking forward to an exciting future.

This portrait displays many of the same qualities. Mrs. Fowler chose to be photographed in fashionable Victorian dress. Her harp playing indicates her upbringing, signals her refinement and accomplishments. At the same time, her smile and obvious sense of self-confidence speak well for the future. Unlike Mrs. Atwater, who in 1845 was unable to raise her arms, Mrs. Fowler could, at the very least, play the harp!

  • What

    Music was much admired and warranted special furnishings. In the foreground of the photograph is an elegant stand for storing sheet music.

  • Where

    The photograph would have been framed and displayed in the parlour, and perhaps distributed to friends as smaller cartes de visite.

  • When

    This photograph was taken in 1867 almost at the midpoint of Queen Victoria's reign.

  • Who

    William Notman photographed Mrs. J. W. Fowler and her harp in his Montreal studio.