Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today was my "library day," upon which, I miraculously returned three volumes of poetry which were not even due for another two weeks. More to the point (but I was just so proud of the aforementioned feat, that I had to mention it. . .afore) I checked out The Illustrated History of Canada, perceiving that the obligation of carting it home would fit tidily into my new exercise regime, even if I never read it. Then again, it's illustrated. How can one not read it. . .or at least sip knowledge from the captions under the pictures?

Early on in the book, I was quite taken with a painting by an English artist named Frances Anne Hopkins. Her husband, Edward Martin Hopkins, was an official of the Hudson's Bay Company during the 1860's. She accompanied him on several of his. . .well, I suppose you could call them business trips, but it seems a very dry description of anything which might involve a group of canoes and the Great Lakes' region. On these trips, Mrs. Hopkins sketched and, when she returned home, painted some striking records of what she had seen.

Here are a couple of examples courtesy of the Library and Archives of Canada:

"Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall"

"Shooting the Rapids"

If you look closely, you can see the artist herself in the centre of the boat in both pictures, though she is mostly just hat in the lower one (over the shoulder of the fellow in the light blue shirt), in the waterfall piece, she is hard to miss in a white dress and hat (another hat).

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