M9126.96.36.1990 | Henri Longpré
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
6.1 x 7.4 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Print (10661)
Keys to History
Advertisements carried by the press and other media used a variety of strategies to capture consumer interest. Canada had a long tradition of sober, informative ads that did nothing but list products in stock and their prices. This tradition came to an end after 1860, when the use of pictures and a variety of typefaces created new visual interest. Engravers designed ads to seduce the public. Copy emphasized novelty and innovation; products offered for sale were associated with progress. The outstanding symbol of 19th-century progress, the railway, was mentioned often, sometimes humorously, to flog a wide range of goods.
Lovell's Montreal Directory, 1858-59 to 1866-67.
Census of Canada, 1861, Montreal, West Ward, manuscript.
Source: A Consuming Passion [Web tour], Joanne Burgess, Université du Québec à Montréal (see Links)
This advertisement, for shoe manufacturer Henri Longpré, is a good example of the sense of humour of its designer, John Henry Walker. Note the interesting parallel between the shoe industry and the locomotive, a powerful symbol of industrialization.
Montreal was Canada's biggest boot and shoe manufacturing centre in the latter half of the 19th century.
Henri Longpré was in business between 1858 and 1865, so the ad must have appeared sometime during that period.
Henri Longpré, a native of Montreal, was 43 years old in 1861. His establishment was on Notre Dame Street in Old Montreal at that date.