Canadian Fine Art
November 13 — 18, 2021
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET
WILLIAM HENRY BARTLETT
Collection of Senator Michael Pitfield
Dr. and Mrs. Joe MacInnis, Toronto, ON
Bartlett was raised in an artistic tradition that valued the picturesque. The artist turned his eye to the Canadian landscape, recording views that would be the most pleasing to his European contemporaries. Henry C. Campbell, former Chief Librarian at the Toronto Public Library, points out that “his work would be seen by many who might wish to invest capital in new lands, as well as by restless younger sons and daughters attracted by the promise of a new country and land for settlement.” These were “scenes which could be recognized by Europeans and which attracted them by the same romantic pull with which they were attracted to the gorges and waterfalls in their own lands.”
Much of his travel throughout Canada was conducted via ship. Accordingly, many of his views are of bodies of water seen from along his route, captured from points of settlement or trade. Bartlett would create sketches of these locales that he would expand into paintings at a future date—sometimes years later. Bartlett was known to alter these original impressions, supplementing his quick drawings with the work of other artists, including George Heriot, James Pattison Cockburn, Robert A. Sproule, George Bourne and Joseph Bouchette. This has resulted in some embellishments, particularly with respect to height and scale. Despite these enhancements, Bartlett’s scenes seem to have captured the prevailing sentiment. Sir Francis Bond Head, governor of Upper Canada, noted that, to European eyes, “the heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the clouds are whiter, the air is fresher, the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter, the thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger, the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers larger, the forests bigger, the plains broader.” Perhaps Bartlett got it right after all?
Janice Tyrwhitt and Henry C. Campbell, Bartlett’s Canada: A Pre-Confederation Journey (McLelland and Stewart Limited: Toronto, 1968), 12, 16, 19, 22.
Please contact the specialist for further condition information.
All lots from this auction will be made available for pre-auction, in-person inspection and preview. This condition report has been prepared by Waddington’s as a courtesy and has been provided for guidance only. Each lot is offered in the condition it is in at the time of sale. Any reference to condition in the report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Waddington’s. Please note, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot and may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot’s actual colour and shades, depending on your screen settings. Although Waddington’s takes great care in executing condition reports, Waddington’s specialists are not professional conservators or restorers and the report set forth is only a statement of opinion. For that reason this report is provided as a courtesy and is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice. Prospective buyers should bear in mind that this report will not disclose any imperfections which may only be revealed during the course of subsequent restoration. The Buyer agrees that Waddington’s will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions contained within the report. Buyers are reminded that Waddington’s warranties with respect to any property are limited as set forth in the Conditions of Sale and do not extend to condition.