National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 25, 1975

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Lyttleton's View of Halifax: Microscopic Cosmos

by Alexandra E. Carter

Pages  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5 


1 I am greatly indebted to Douglas S. Richardson, University of Toronto, who suggested the topic of this paper, gave me frequent advice and much encouragement. I would also like to thank Mrs Mary Allodi of the Royal Ontario Museum, Miss Phyllis Blakeley of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Miss Edith Firth of the Metropolitan Toronto Central Library, J. Russell Harper, of Concordia University, Donald McKay of Halifax, and Miss Sybille Pantazzi of the Art Gallery of Ontario Library, all of whom provided essential assistance.

2 The fact that the view is so broad as to include all four Martello towers in the background, as well as Sherbrooke Tower on Mauger's Beach in the lower left, reflects Lyttleton's earlier military orientation and the strategic significance of much topographical painting.

3 Mrs Allodi alerted me to Lyttleton's connections, and it was she who identified the house in the foreground as Hugonin's home. The "W. W. L. Lyttleton" file compiled by H. W. A. Kilgour in 1936, in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, records the artist's marriage to Joanna McNab in 1842. Joanna's younger sister married Hugonin: according to H. W. Hewitt the estate of "Govemor" Peter McNab passed to his son's (the Hon. James McNab), sons-in-law, Lt. Hugonin and Capt. Lyttleton, both of the 64th Regiment ("McNab's Island" [unpublished lecture read before the Nova Scotia Historical Society, 1st December, 1912, p.16]).

4 Ibid.

5 C. Bruce Ferguson, Place Names and Places of Nova Scotia (Halifax: Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1967), p. 395.

6 Hewitt, McNab's Island, p. 5.

7 Harry Piers, "Artists in Nova Scotia," Collections, Vol. 18 (Halifax: Nova Scotia Historical Society, 1914), p.152.

8 There appears to be disagreement concerning Lyttleton's date of death. J. Russell Harper, Early Painters and Engravers in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970), p. 204 gives the date as 1879, while Kilgour's Lyttleton file, op cit., records that he "died 9 Aug., 1886, at Keswick, Eng."

9 Lyttleton file, op. cit.

10 Harper, op. cit., p. 204. Piers states that Lyttleton retired from public service c. 1849, op. cit., p. 152.

11 Reginald V. Harris, The Church of St Paul in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1949), p. 264.

12 Proceedings of the Nova Scotia Institute of Science, Vol. 13, Pt 3 (1912-1913), p. lxiii; p. cxi.

13 Agricultural Exhibition of Nova Scotia (catalogue) (Halifax: British North American, 1853), pp. 21-22, also Official Report of the Executive Committee (Halifax: James Barnes, 1854), pp. 9, 34.

14 Piers, op. cit., p. 162.

15 Michael Bell, "Documentary watercolours and drawings from the permanent collection," Image of Canada (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 1972), p. 9.

16 Ibid, p. 8.

17 J. Russell Harper, Painting in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966), p. 42.

18 Harper in Early Painters and Engravers lists works by Lyttleton in the John Ross Robertson Collection, Toronto Public Library, and the Sigmund Samuel Collection (now the Canadiana Department), Royal Ontario Museum. Works are also to be found in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Museum, and William Inglis Morse Collection, Dalhousie University. Harper states that "at least two of his Halifax views were lithographed"; I have been able to locate only lithographic copies of the 1853 View. An unidentified watercolour in the Public Archives of Nova Scotia may well be Lyttelton's work, based on stylistic comparison and choice of subject matter "McNab's Island showing Hugonin House."

19 Catalogue of the Nova Scotia Department, International Exhibition 1862 (Halifax: James Bowers, 1862), p. 34.

20 Thomas Raddall, Halifax Warden of the North (Toronto; McClelland & Stewart, 1971), p. 174.

21 Public Archives of Nova Scotia, Photo file, "Halifax-McNab's, c. 1865," notes by Harry Piers.

22 Harry Piers, Evolution of the Halifax Fortress 1749-1928 (Halifax: Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 1947), p. 47.

23 Aaron Scharf, Art and Photography (London: Penguin Press, 1968), p. I.

24 One senses the similar angle of vision in the views of Halifax by Short, Petley, Bartlett, and Lyttleton in the 1853 version. One can confirm this by plotting the parameters of their views on a map.

25 Special buildings were erected for viewing the result in various European and North American centres. The panoramic exhibit became a most popular late Georgian and early Victorian entertainment. Kreighoff and Duncan advertised their collaboration for a series of panoramic designs intended for public display. Harper, Painting in Canada, p. 124.

26 Public Archives of Nova Scotia.

27 Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery, Edward Lear: Drawings from a Greek Tour, 1964.

28 See Drawings by Edward Lear (exhibition catalogue) (San Marino, California: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1962), cat. no. 23, repr. p. 25.

29 Presumably this detail information was used to identify the vessel Britannia of the Cunard Line (see note 20).

30 R. H. Hubbard, The Development of Painting in Canada 1665-1945 (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1945), p. 13.

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