William Berczy's Portraits of Joseph Brant
by Gloria Lesser
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20 John Andre, William Berczy: Co-Founder of Toronto (Ortoprint:
21 Lord, p. 84.
22 Russel I. Harper, Painting in Canada: A History (Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1966), p. 62.
Ross Robertson, ed., The Diary of Mrs John Simcoe (Toronto:
1932), p. 14.
24 Andre, p. 121.
25 W. Martha Cooke, The Four Indian Kings (Public Archives of
Canada, Picture Division, 1977), n. p.
26 Honour, cat. no.170.
27 Cooke, n. p.
28 Andre, p. 87.
29 In a conversation on 18 August 1981, John Andre theorized the
probable sequence of the paintings' execution based on Berczy's
current economic situation.
30 See Purves Carter, Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of the
Paintings in the Gallery of Laval University (Quebec: 1908), no.
219, p. Il, in reference to the Quebec Seminary watercolour. The
Château du Ramezay watercolour is in their file No. CRX978. 31.1.
Refer to the letter in this file from William C. Sturtevant,
Curator, the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural
History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., to Renée
Martel, curator of Prints and Drawings dated 29 July 1978.
Sturtevant notes the similarity of the Château du Ramezay rendition
to the Quebec Seminary work, thus he attributes the watercolour to
Berczy. See as well Lita-Rose Betcherman, "Genesis of an
Early Canadian Painter: William Von Moll Berczy: in, Ontario
History, Vol. 57, No.2 (1965), p. 60. Betcherman relates that
Berczy's son certifies that the gouache (probably the Quebec
Seminary one) was painted from the life (PAC, Berczy Papers, 015996,
Robert Kerr to Berczy, 29 July 1794), and served as the model for
the head in the oil painting. She writes that the sittings were
arranged by Dr Robert Kerr, a white man related to Brant by
marriage. Berczy was at Simcoe's headquarters at Niagara before
taking possession of his land when he painted the work.
3l Correspondence with Karen Haslan, Royal Ontario Museum, dated 1
April 1980 to the author did not reveal the painting's provenance,
nor was the painting dated.
32 The ROM catalogue cards revealed that their painting may be a
preliminary sketch for the Pitfield painting. On the reverse (on
paper glued to board) there is the following identification:
"... Portrait taken from the life by my father, an
excellent..." written by Berczy's son.
33 In a conversation with John Andre on 18 August 1981, the author
offered his speculation on this portrait.
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