John Henry Walker
1831 - 1899
Molson Brewery in Old Montreal
watercolour and graphite on card
signed and dated 1850
24 x 38 3/8 po, 61 x 97.5 cm
Estimation : $10,000 - $15,000
Exposition à : Heffel Montréal
Acquired in 1910 by George Washington Eadie (1836 - 1915)
Collection of Herbert Harrison Eadie (1884 - 1966)
By descent to the present Private Estate, Montreal
John Henry Walker was a Canadian engraver and illustrator. He was born in the Antrim County in Northern Ireland in 1831 and immigrated to Canada in 1842 along with his family. He illustrated several Canadian books, advertisements, sales catalogues, newspapers and magazines such as The Canadian Illustrated News, L'Opinion Publique and Le Monde Illustré.
The present watercolour is a rare representation of the first Molson brewery in Montreal, built in 1786 and destroyed by a fire in 1858. This brewery was located on the south of the Island of Montreal, between the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Old Port of Montreal, where the existing Molson brewery stands today. The area represented on this watercolour corresponds to the point where the Saint-Lawrence River meets the Lachine Rapids. At the time this work was painted, this sector was a strategic point of transit for the transportation of all sorts of merchandise. As the configuration of the port of Montreal was quite different from what it is today, large steam boats such as the ones represented in this image could not navigate further beyond this section of the river.
This work was acquired in 1910 by George Washington Eadie, a prominent wholesale hardware supplier of Scottish descent, when he purchased a property from Frederick William Molson that was located on Peel Street in Montreal. This watercolour has remained in Mr. Eadie’s family and has been passed by descent to its present owner. This exceptional work is fine example of Walker’s talent as an illustrator and an extraordinary testimony to Canada’s vibrant early commercial and industrial history.
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