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Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior

Canoes in a Fog, Lake Superior

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The voyageur and the lakes and streams that were his highways during the heyday of the fur trade have been depicted with beauty and accuracy in this painting.

Paper size 27 3/4" x 21 3/4", image size 21 5/8" x 11 5/8"

This oil painting shows three North canoes entering the mist of the great inland sea. About twenty-five feet in length and manned by a crew of eight or nine, these birch-bark canoes were designed for rapid travel on streams broken by falls, or where portages were long and numerous. The artist has depicted herself as a passenger in the nearest canoe.

In the collections of the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta (ACC. NO. 55.81.1)

Frances Anne (Beechey) Hopkins (1838-1918) brought the authenticity of experience to her painting. Born in England, the granddaughter of the note portraitist Sir William Beechey, she married Edward Martin Hopkins in 1858. For about a decade Hopkins traveled the age-old canoe routes of Canada, accompanying her husband, who was private secretary to the governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Although she had little formal art training, Hopkins employed her natural talent in sketching and painting scenes of the North American waters and forests and the voyageurs who traversed them. Travel such as this gave her the authoritative, firsthand knowledge fo the subjects she painted so ably. The Hopkins family returned in 1870 to live permanently in England, where Frances Anne died in 1918. Her paintings continue to enrich the National Archives of her adopted Canada.

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