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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
Support: 6.500 x 7.500 cm (support)
Inventory no.: min035
Scope and content
Item consists of a miniature portrait of Demasduit, also known as Mary March, Shendoreth, Waunathoake, by Lady Henrietta Martha Hamilton. Demasduit is reputed to be one of the last members of the now extinct Beothuk tribe of Newfoundland. Demasduit was born in the interior of Newfoundland, possibly in the Exploits River area. First encounters with European settlers and fishermen had been hostile, and later friendly contact with the Beothuks was encouraged and worth potential reward. Altercations continued and in March 1819, a group of fishermen led by John Peyton set out to recover articles stolen from them by the Boethuks the previous fall. Demasduit was captured by them and her husband Nonosbawsut was killed. Her newborn baby was abandoned in the struggle and subsequently died. Brought to St. John's Newfoundland a few months later, her portrait was painted by Lady Henrietta Hamilton, the wife of the governor of Newfoundland, Sir Charles Hamilton. The governor ordered that she be returned to her people, and several attempts to do so were made from June until December of 1819. Demasduit died of tuberculosis on January 8, 1820 before seeing her home again.
To be viewed with the assistance of the
Portrait Gallery of Canada
Copy negative C-087698
MIN-035 Item no. assigned by LAC 1
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, acc. no. 1977-14-1
Restrictions on use: None
Biography / Administrative history
Lady Henrietta Martha Drummond was the daughter of George Drummond of Stanmore, County Middlesex, bank of Charing Cross, London. She was married 19 April 1803, to Charles Hamilton, a British naval captain who later rose to be Vice-Admiral, was appointed to the post of Governor of Newfoundland and Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Station, his term ending in 1824. Nothing is known of her artistic training, although she was known as an amateur painter in Newfoundland.
Physical condition note
Aug. 1977 - the frame was conserved at CC1, compare C-097697 (before) and C-092599 (after).
Feb. 1977 - the work is glued to a card and in a gold wooden frame.
Aug. 1977 - Frame restored, it is now black instead of gold (see restoration history).
Availability of other formats note
Exhibition title: Newfoundland Interior: 1770-1900. Curators: Edward Tompkins, Newfoundland Museum, St. John's, Newfoundland; 1986.06.08 - 1986.08.14.
Exhibition title: A Place in History / Un moment dans l'histoire. Curators: staff, documentary art section, National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; 1990.10.31-1991.033.31, cat. no.: cat. no. 49.
Exhibition title: Facing History : portraits from the National Archives of Canada / Face à Face : portraits des Archives nationales du Canada. Curators: Lydia Foy, Sylvie Gervais, Peter Robertson, National Archives of Canada, ottawa, Ontario; O 1993.05.27-1993.09.03, cat. no.: cat. no. 27.
Exhibition title: Small Wonders... / De petites merveilles.... Curators: Martha Marleau, National Archives of Canada, cat. no.: 9b. Further venue: National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario: 1995.02.13-1995.06.26.
Exhibition title: Treasured Memories.
Curators: Tétrault, Martin.
Curators: National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; 1997.05.14 - 1998.01.
"Newfoundland Interior: 1960-1900," April 15-August 30, 1986. Government of Newfoundland.
Signatures and inscriptions
2. SUBJ. - Portrait : Mary March - Aboriginal Female, 1819.
Other system control no.
Related control no.
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