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Description found in Archives

Series consists of



Place of creation


9 watercolours.
1 painting oil.

Scope and content

Series consists of nine watercolours and one oil painting by Paul Kane (1810-1871) depicting: a Nez Percé Indian, Oregon Territory; Cree Indian, Fort Pitt; Ojibway Chief, Michipicoten Island; Cree Indian, Rocky Mountain House; Blackfoot Chief, near Fort Pitt; Blood Indian Chief, near Fort Pitt; Assiniboin Lodges, Rocky Mountain Fort; sketches of buffalo; Ojibway Camp, Spider Islands, Lake Huron; a painted horse, Colville, Oregon Territory.

Graphic (art)
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Watercolours and painting: No restrictions. Copyright expired. Credit the National Archives of Canada.

Watercolours and painting: All items described at item-level in MINISIS-ICON. (Electronic)

Additional name(s)

Biography / Administrative history

Paul Kane was born in Mallow, Ireland, in 1810, and emigrated to Canada with his family in 1820, where they settled in York. Apprenticed to Toronto furniture manufacturer W.S. Conger in 1828, he was encouraged to become an artist, and received private lessons from Thomas Drury, the drawing master at Upper Canada College, from 1830 onwards. He exhibited nine works at the initial Toronto Society of Artists exhibition in 1834. In the same year, he left Toronto for Cobourg, where he worked as a portraitist and furniture decorator for two years before moving to Detroit and then on to Mobile, Alabama. He sailed from New Orleans for Europe in June 1841. He spent his time in Rome and Florence copying old master paintings, before wintering in London in 1842, where he encountered the work of George Catlin. Inspired, he returned to Mobile to pay off his debts, and in 1845 returned to Toronto. In June 1845, he set off on his first sketching trip among the Indians of the Great Lakes. While on this trip, he met a Hudson's Bay Co. factor, John Ballenden, who brought Kane to the attention of Sir George Simpson, the head of the Company. Kane was offered HBC assistance for a western journey the following spring, and in 1846-1847 he was able to wander across much of Rupert's Land, the Oregon Territory, Vancouver Island, and the Rocky Mountains. He arrived back in Toronto in October 1848. Kane's working methods involved small sketches in pencil and watercolour, as well as quick oil sketches on paper, which were brought back to Toronto, and then used as the basis for a one hundred painting cycle illustrating all aspects of Western Indian life and scenery. This cycle was eventually purchased by George Allan for 20,000 pounds sterling. It is now part of the Royal Ontario Museum's collection. He also painted works for Sir George Simpson, for the Government of Canada, and for many other individuals. Kane never visited the West again, but spent the rest of his life in Toronto working on canvases based on his life sketches. J. Russell Harper, Paul Kane's Frontier including Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971).

Additional information

Availability of other formats note
The copy negative numbers of the items digitized are C-114374 C-114386 (colour transp.) (ICON).


Related control no.

1981-055 PIC