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Elizabeth PutnamEnlarge image

Elizabeth Putnam, May 1885

Robert Harris
British, Canadian, 1849 - 1919
oil on canvas
127.5 x 102 cm
Purchased 2011, with the support of the Harry Michael Brindza Endowment for the acquisition of Canadian Art
National Gallery of Canada (no. 43266)

Robert Harris painted this portrait of his fiancée, Elizabeth (Bessie) Putnam, shortly before their marriage in Montreal on 21 May 1885. At the same time he painted a self-portrait (now in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown) depicting himself painting this portrait of his future wife. In his Sitters Book he noted, “in March began portrait of Bessie half length with background. April – My own to match.” Elizabeth Harris was the model for the teacher in the painting A Meeting of the School Trustees and the subject of numerous other portraits by Robert Harris over the many years of their marriage.

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