M686 | View Near Mile End, Montreal.

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View Near Mile End, Montreal.
James Duncan (1806-1881)
1831, 19th century
Sepia and watercolour on paper
21.1 x 35.3 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379)
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A view of Mile End is represented here, looking towards the south-west, with the city of Montreal in the distance. The spire of Christ Church is visible in the centre, which helps identify the point from which the scene was observed. Mile End was the village of Saint-Louis-du-Mile-End. This village was the site of a racetrack located exactly one mile from the Montreal city limits, in the area to the north-east of the St. Lawrence/Mount-Royal intersection now known as the Plateau Mont-Royal. The name "Mile End" was clearly a reference to the position of the racetrack. Although it is unsigned, we know this pen and sepia watercolour was painted by James Duncan during the summer of 1831, together with a number of companion pieces in the same style and medium. Several of the companion pieces were signed and inscribed by Duncan, and the inscription on this work appears to be the same hand. James Duncan was commissioned by John Samuel McCord (1801-1865) to paint a number of views of the city of Montreal and its environs. McCord realized the importance of capturing a visual record before the rural and urban landscapes of the rapidly growing city were totally altered. McCord actually insisted on accompanying Duncan on these drawing excursions, to ensure that the views would convey the effect he desired. GRAHAM, Conrad. Mont-Royal - Ville Marie : Early Plans and Views of Montreal, McCord Museum of Canadian History, p. 83.)