I-43610.1 | Mr. Reynolds in costume, Montreal, QC, 1870

Mr. Reynolds in costume, Montreal, QC, 1870
William Notman (1826-1891)
1870, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
13.7 x 10 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Seen in the composite with bow and arrow, Mr. Reynolds as "Quewaygoosquequamteros" is typical of the way Victorians portrayed romanticized exotic characters from other cultures. Many of the people who donned exotic fancy dress acted out stereotypes-men dressed in Aboriginal costume waved tomahawks and gave war whoops, reinforcing the period's widely accepted stereotype of the savage warrior.

Mr. Reynolds's costume is composed of authentic Aboriginal-made elements, all available at this time in the Montreal area, juxtaposed incongruously. His headdress may be Huron-Wendat and his moccasins Cree. Though the beaded accessories are of a Plains style, they are typical of work being done by Native people in Quebec in this period. Reynolds's necklace is of particular interest. At least one of the items on it-a comb-is from the Arctic Thule culture, ancestors of today's Inuit. The comb is now in the McCord collection.

  • What

    This view of Mr. Reynolds was taken in the studio before he posed for the composite.

  • Where

    Everything used to create this costume could be purchased in the Montreal area at this time, except for the Thule artifacts from the Arctic worn around his neck.

  • When

    In the late 19th century, using Native-made objects and clothing to portray stereotypical and romanticized North American Aboriginal people was commonplace at fancy dress balls.

  • Who

    The Thule comb was donated to the McCord by the Natural History Society of Montreal when it disbanded in 1925.