M2003.148.1 | Lower view of the Ramparts from Hare-skin River

Lower view of the Ramparts from Hare-skin River
Sir George Back
1826, 19th century
Watercolour and ink on paper
12.1 x 19.1 cm
Purchased with the assistance of a Movable Cultural Property grant accorded by the Minister of Canadian Heritage under ther terms of the Cultural property Export and Import Act
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Painting (2229) , painting (2227) , Waterscape (2986)
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Keys to History

British naval officer George Back (1796-1878) was a self-taught artist who began drawing while being held prisoner in France during the Napoleonic Wars. It was in part thanks to this talent that he was selected for Franklin's expeditions. Franklin used some of Back's sketches to illustrate his own travel accounts. Although George Back was not the first European to do Arctic landscapes, his drawings and watercolours are the work of one of the first talented artists to have spent time in those regions of the globe and thus provide priceless evidence of the history of exploration of Canada's Far North.

  • What

    George Back painted many scenes of the Canadian Arctic. Several of his works were used to illustrate Sir John Franklin's accounts of his voyages. The landscape shown here was never published, however.

  • Where

    The Hare-skin River that Back painted is near the Mackenzie, in the Northwest Territories. The small community of Fort Good Hope is at its mouth.

  • When

    This picture was painted in 1826, when George Back was taking part in the second Arctic overland expedition led by Sir John Franklin.

  • Who

    George Back, naval officer, explorer and artist, was born in Stockport, England, on November 6, 1796. He died in London in 1878.