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St. John, William Charles
TitleSt. John, William Charles
Scope and Content of FondsPainted portraits of Newfoundlanders dating from the 1800s appear to be extremely rare. Those that were - done were probably painted in England and were done for members of wealthy families who could afford - such luxuries. There were very few artists living in Newfoundland during that century, and the few who - did were often here for only a short time. One of the few was Henrietta, Lady Hamilton (1780?-1857), wife - of Sir Charles Hamilton, who was Governor of Newfoundland from 1818-1824. Lady Hamilton lived in St. - John's with her husband during his term as Governor. She is best known for her miniature portrait entitled - Mary March. It is a watercolour on ivory portrait of Demasduit, one of the last of the Beothuk, painted in - 1819. That portrait now resides in the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa. The most successful of the painters who did live in Newfoundland during the first half of the 19th century - was William Gosse. Gosse was born in Worcester, England in 1808 but moved to Carbonear, - Newfoundland in 1822 to work at Pack, Gosse and Fryer, a mercantile establishment in which his uncle, - John Gosse, was a partner. William did find some time to paint in Carbonear, but it was not until he moved - to St. John's (probably in the early 1830s) that he set up business as a professional painter. His drawings - of various St. John's locations are the only ones known to exist of downtown St. John's prior to the 1846 - fire. Portrait painting probably occupied a great deal of his time during the years he worked in St. John's - but it would appear that very few of these paintings have survived. Gosse left Newfoundland in the 1840s - and returned to England. One of Gosse's works that has survived is a pencil and watercolour portrait of William Charles St. John. It - was painted in 1841 and is in excellent condition. Until recently it was framed and there is a dark border - around the edges of the painting which were covered by the frame. The painting does not appear to - have faded, however; the colours are still quite vibrant. This painting provides an example of Gosse's work as a portrait painter: his technique and use of colour. - It also shows what the well-dressed young man from Harbour Grace would have worn in 1841.
Author of Finding AidRiggs, Bert, 1954-
Date of Finding Aid1997
Resource TypeFinding Aid
CollectionArchives and Special Collections Finding Aids (EAD)
SponsorMemorial University of Newfoundland. Libraries. Archives and Special Collections Division
CONTENTdm file name99.xml
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