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M928.94.1.20
© McCord Museum
Print
Citadel of Kingston
William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854)
1839-1842, 19th century
Ink on paper
22.1 x 28.5 cm
Gift of Miss Moodie
M928.94.1.20
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Located where the St. Lawrence River runs into Lake Ontario, Kingston was a commercial and military city in which soldiers, merchants and bankers predominated. Upper Canadian rebels were concentrated in inland farming regions. This sketch, typical of Bartlett, shows soldiers relaxing above Kingston, where ships are arriving from Montreal and Lake Ontario ports.

Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)

What:

Going up the St. Lawrence from Montreal, the traveller had many locks to negotiate and some 200 kilometres of river travel before arriving in Kingston. The city's military and commercial character is clear from the painting. Queen's University, located in the city, was one of Ontario's first universities.

Where:

Aside from its location at the junction of the St. Lawrence River with Lake Ontario, Kingston was also close to the head of the Rideau Canal.

When:

The fort and canal reminded Canadians that, even in mid-century, the American republic just a few kilometres across the lake still represented an important threat.

Who:

The illustrator William Henry Bartlett made sketches to illustrate books dealing with Europe, Asia and North America. He visited Canada and the United States four times between 1836 and 1852.

© Musée McCord Museum