M982.531.9 | Montreal from the Hill, Behind the Village Of The Tanneries On the Road to Lachine

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Montreal from the Hill, Behind the Village Of The Tanneries On the Road to Lachine
1840, 19th century
Watercolour and graphite on paper
16.6 x 24.5 cm
Gift of Mr. N. B. Ivory
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Painting (2229) , painting (2227)
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This 1840 view looks north-east from a spot that is now a section of the Upper Lachine Road down into the Saint-Henri districk, which was the centre of Montreal's leather trade during the first half of the nineteenth century. The tanneries essential to this trade were operated by artisans and were mainly owned and run by families. The tanners' shops were usually situated adjacent to their homes, which explains the small attached buildings and outbuildings to be seen in this watercolour. In 1825, the population of Saint-Henri was 466 and 63% of the declared occupations were associated in one way or another with the leather trade. In about 1813, the "Tanneries" referred to in the inscription of this watercolour were given the official name of Saint-Henri-des-Tanneries, in honour of the Sulpician Superior Henri-Auguste Roux (1760-1831). On February 25, 1875, the village became the town of Saint-Henri, on January 8, 1894 it officially became a city and on October 30, 1905 it was annexed to Montreal. This watercolour bears stylistic resemblances to another work attributed to Philip Bainbrigge. The rural landscape has been roundly developed, and only the essential features of the village are highlighted. Aerial perspective has been employed to some effect, with the landscape becoming less defined as it recedes into the background and rises towards the high horizon line common to most of Bainbrigge's watercolours. The shaded rendering of Notre-Dame Church, just visible to the far left of the horizon, is calculated not to draw attention away from the Tanneries and their relation to the city itself. (Excerpt from: GRAHAM, Conrad. Mont-Royal - Ville Marie : Early Plans and Views of Montreal, McCord Museum of Canadian History, p.107.)