M983.224 | The Gibb House on St. James Street.
The Gibb House on St. James Street.
Charles C. Milbourne
1819, 19th century
Watercolour, ink and graphite on paper mounted on card
34.7 x 53.2 cm
Gift of Mr. John Gibb Carsley
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Painting (2229) , painting (2227)
This watercolour is the only known executed by Milbourne during his sojourn in Canada, which lasted from 1818 until his death in 1823. The imposing brick house that dominates the work was the residence of Benaiah Gibb Jr. (1798-1877), the son of Benaiah Gibb Sr. (1755-1826) who was the founder of Montreal's leading haberdashery. The house, which is no longer standing, was located at 37 St. James Street. The building to the right of the Gibb house with the doric columned portico is the first Bank of Montreal, constructed between 1818 and 1819. The large mansion with a cupola on the right slope of the mountain, which no longer exists, was the residence of John Molson (1763-1836), who came to Montreal in 1786 and founded a successful brewery. Although the watercolour is inscribed with the date of December 31, 1819, it is obviously not a winter scene. Milbourne had no doubt executed a number of sketches of the various buildings on the slopes of the mountain during the summer and fall of 1819 and was ready, by December, to rework his sketches into a pastiche to serve as a backdrop for the Gibb house. The fact that Milbourne was better known for a painting theatrical scenery than accurate topographical views lends plausibility to this theory. (Excerpt from: GRAHAM, Conrad. Mont-Royal - Ville Marie : Early Plans and Views of Montreal, McCord Museum of Canadian History, p. 64.)