Tomb of General Brock, Queenston Heights, Ontario, 1830
oil on canvas
74.5 x 112.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42494)
Photo © NGC
Thomas Cole is best remembered as a founding member of the Hudson River school of painting. Born in England, he made a brief return there in 1829, taking with him sketches of Niagara Falls and one of the monument erected on the site of the Battle of Queenston Heights (1812) viewed from the American side. The paintings were completed in England and were deliberately aimed at an English audience; they were shown at the Royal Academy in 1830. The dramatic interpretation of the clouds and rainbow clearly refers to the fallen hero, while Lake Ontario sparkles in the distance. Cole's painting is an important record of the original, starkly severe column atop Brock's tomb, destroyed in 1840 and replaced by the more mundane one we know today.