23 April 2010

Nineteenth-Century Logrolling

In this hectic week it took me three days to realize that Thomas Conant's cautious praise of James McIntyre was part of an exchange of mutual admiration that began with this awkward verse:

Though the date these lines were sent is unrecorded, we know it must have been before they appeared in Poems of James McIntyre (Ingersoll, ON: Chronicle, 1889). Conant was a frequent contributor to the Globe, and did indeed "give fine sketch of bird and fowl", but his masterpiece, Upper Canada Sketches (Toronto: Briggs, 1898), dealt with much more than ornithology. An entertaining blend of nature writing and history, it gives the Conant family a bit more weight than might be their due. That said, it is worth mentioning that Thomas' namesake, his grandfather, was one of the four people killed during the Upper Canada Rebellion.

The scene was imagined by Edward Scrope Shrapnel.

The artist contributed twenty-six paintings to Upper Canada Sketches, making it one of the most attractive books to come out of nineteenth-century Canada.

No comments:

Post a Comment