ARHI 301 - Early Canadian Landscape Artists

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Introduction 08664 M19958 08667 M358 M20049 M20044


Images of early Canada were brought to world, for the most part, by people from other countries. These men and women came to our country with a wide range of titles (military, explorers, scientists, etc.), some holding artistic training while others simply put to use their basic natural skill. These artists acted as visual informers or educators to the rest of the world that had not yet experienced this vast country. Whether these artists correctly portrayed the natural landscape or exaggerated its truths, citizens of the world had no choice but to accept these images as Canada. These images were distributed throughout the world quite commonly by their inclusion in travel books or journals. Travel books contained prints made by professional printmakers from the original artists' drawings. Much of the early Canadian landscapes were painted or drawn by British artists that came over with or as part of the British military. Thomas Davies and James Cockburn were two such men. Although they came to Canada at different times and their works show different aspects of the country, both men trained at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich in England and thus were both influenced by earlier British landscape artists, notably Paul Sandby.