Formed as a designer, John Crawford Young was an artist with a military career who focused on the human figure in his work.
As a member of the Seventy Ninth Regiment he was aid de camp to Lord Dalhousie in Quebec City from October 1826 to June 1827.
From July-August of 1826, Young accompanied the Governor on an inspection tour to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. During the return voyage to Quebec City, Young painted a great number of scenes of Bonaventure Island and Perce rock, as well as genre images of the fisherman at Chaleur Bay.
Young designed the obelisk to commemorate the death of Montcalm and Wolfe in the battle of the Plains of Abraham, subscribed by the British (including Dalhousie himself). The Monumnet was dedicated in 1827.
The same year, 1827, Young witnessed the launching of the Brig the Kingfisher, and then in August, he traveled to the Outaouais. Lord Dalhousie wrote in his journal on 7 August 1827: "Capt. Young has made a large collection of drawings, with which he will certainly temps Colonel Cockburn to visit [?] Pooley and Denny are both drawing for me, which those of Young will form a valuable collection to illustrate my excursions this year."
The artist offered American Port Folio No 1 to Lord Dalhousie in 1827. The album, which is made up of forty watercolours and washes, constitutes the most important work of Young's career.