M6015 | Interior view of Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal.

Interior view of Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal.
James Duncan (1806-1881)
1852, 19th century
Watercolour, gouache and graphite on paper mounted on board
38 x 52 cm
Gift of Mr. S. H. Bethune
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Painting (2229) , painting (2227)
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This watercolour shows the interior of Christ Church Cathedral, which was then situated on Notre-Dame Street. The scene depicted memorial service held on November 18, 1852, in the cathedral for Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), the 1st Duke of Wellington, Field-Marshal and Prime Minister of Great Britain. The shell of the church was built between 1805 and 1808. In 1812, the Church Commissioners engaged John Try (active 1812-1848) to complete the interior according to William Berczy's (1744-1813) designs. The first service was held on October 9, 1814, but it was not until 1821 that the church was finally finished and a steeple added. There is a detailed description of the interior. The pews are painted white, and capped with cherry wood - with the numbers neatly gilt on the doors. The side galleries are supported by the main columns, and the organ gallery at the end in which the choir sits, is supported by columns of the Corinthian order, very well executed. The pulpit is very neat, and of a fanciful design, with a circular front : it is supported upon six columns of the Corinthian order, and ascended by two flights of circular stairs, meeting in a platform in the rear of it. The ceiling is divised into three compartments; the centre one of which is a segment of a circle supported on three columns and two pilasters on each side, thirty-one feet in height. These are of the Corinthian order to correspond with the orders, with their capitals and entablatures elegantly enriched - the capitals are cut in wood and the entablatures of stucco. In the circular ceiling are three handsome centre pieces of foliage work, 12 feet in diameter, each formed of stucco. The flat or level compartments of the ceiling on each side are supported by cross beams from to column, and from these to the side walls this part is also relieved by panels, and the soffits of these are supported on the side walls by rich friezes of elegant design and workmanship in stucco. The canopy to be seen to the right of the sanctuary surmounted the bishop's throne. Christ Church was raised to the level of a cathedral in 1850, when Francis Fulfort (1803-1868) became the first Anglican Bishop of Montreal. The painting of the Last Supper by John Poad Drake (1794-1883), to be seen above the altar, was one of the few objects to survive the fire that destroyed the cathedral building in 1856. It hangs today in the new Christ Church Cathedral, on St. Catherine Street. GRAHAM, Conrad. Mont-Royal - Ville Marie : Early Plans and Views of Montreal, McCord Museum of Canadian History, p.133.