M301 | Montreal from St. Helen's Island.

 
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Painting
Montreal from St. Helen's Island.
Robert Auchmuty Sproule (1799-1845)
1830, 19th century
Watercolour, ink, opaque white and graphite on paper mounted on board
23.2 x 35.6 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
Available for adoption
M301
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Painting (2229) , painting (2227)
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Description

This watercolour shows Montreal from St. Helen's Island. The Island was purchased in 1818 by the British Government to be developed as a military post. On the shore of the island, in the foreground, Sproule has painted a military guard box and a sentry. The importance of the St. Lawrence River as a waterway is clearly illustrated here by the variety of boats and ships depicted using it. We can spot a steamboat, a river barque, a sailboat and a timber raft with oarsmen and sails. If the steamboat is indeed the British America, the watercolour must post-date the boat's launching on May 15, 1830, and pre-date the announcement in The Quebec Gazette of July 8, 1830, of the sale of the engraving based on this watercolour. The new Notre-Dame Church is seen dominating the skyline to the left, and Sproule has once again included the two towers, which were not completed until 1843. (Excerpt from: GRAHAM, Conrad. Mont-Royal - Ville Marie : Early Plans and Views of Montreal, McCord Museum of Canadian History, p.81.)