I-64900.1 | Henry Sandham and Edward Sharpe, artists, Montreal, QC, 1871

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Henry Sandham and Edward Sharpe, artists, Montreal, QC, 1871
William Notman (1826-1891)
1871, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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This photograph shows two artists who worked for the Notman photography studio in Montreal, Henry Sandham and Edward Sharpe.

Henry Sandham was one of the best pupils of John Fraser, the first artistic director hired by Notman, whose influence is abundantly clear in his early work. Sandham was hired by the Notman studio in Montreal at the age of 18, around the time when Fraser joined the firm. Sandham worked at the studio for 20 years, becoming head of the art department when Fraser left for Toronto in 1868. In 1877, when he was thinking seriously about leaving the studio to devote himself to painting, an offer of partnership with Notman convinced him to stay. This arrangement lasted only until about 1882, however, when Sandham left for Boston, where he had a career as a prolific book illustrator. Sandham produced a huge amount of work, the quality and variety of which showed that he had profited from Fraser's lessons and gave an indication of his significance to the studio. Two such examples are the Skating Carnival from 1870 and the composite photograph of the Montreal Snowshoe Club from 1877. The latter picture, which shows over 300 members of the Montreal Snowshoe Club on the slopes of Mount Royal, won a silver medal and much critical praise at the World's Fair held in Paris in 1878.

Englishman Edward Sharpe was 19 when he began working for Notman in 1869. His wages were $36 every two weeks, an unprecedented rate for such a young employee. He was the son of C. W. Sharpe, a well-known English engraver; his talent was no doubt recognized and encouraged when he was still quite young. He won a silver medal while he was studying at the Royal Academy.

In light of the impressive work he did for Notman, it seems certain that had he not died tragically at the age of 21, Sharpe would have become one of the most prominent artists in Canada. His colleagues at Notman's were obviously impressed by him, both as man and artist. They erected a stone at his grave in Mount Royal cemetery, but it has unfortunately not resisted the effects of time and weather.