Mr. and Mrs. William Croscup's Painted Room, c. 1846-1848
Unknown (Canadian - early 19th century ?)
diluted oil colour, charcoal, and graphite on plaster
2.1 x 3.8 x 4.5 m
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18688)
The Croscup Room, as it is now known originally was the main parlour in the Hall-Croscup House situated at Karsdale, Nova Scotia, on the north shore of the Annapolis Basin a few miles west of Annapolis Royal. About 1846-1848 this room was painted by an unidentified artist for William Croscup and his wife, Hannah Amelia Shaffner, with a remarkable group of scenic wall murals executed in oil and graphite on plaster and set within a wooden architectural framework decorated in simulated marble and fine wood grains. Although academically untrained, the Croscup artist was evidently a knowledgeable designer. The decorative scheme of the room, featuring eleven distinct but related painted wall panels, was conceived with careful consideration of the form and function of the space. In scale and narrative effect the Croscup murals resemble early 19th-century large-scale, block print scenic wallpapers for which they provided a less expensive substitute. Yet while directly or indirectly inspired by such patterned wallpapers, the murals are unique in content and style. Varying in degree of realism and formal accomplishment, they depict different European and local Maritime subjects, incorporating scenes of contemporary life painted after wood engravings from the "Illustrated London News" with remembered and purely imaginary images. Recognized today as one of the outstanding examples of Pre-Confederation Canadian interior decorative painting, the Croscup Room was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada in 1976 complete with painted walls, floor, fireplace, doors, windows and architectural trim.