Corbeau, a Trotting Horse, 1845
Robert C. Todd
British, Canadian, 1809
oil on canvas
51.5 x 64.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 29783)
With the influx during the mid 19th century of many new artists, the types of painting practiced in Quebec City began to diversify. Robert Clow Todd, who was born in the north of England, is one of the more appealing painters of this generation. He likely moved to the city in the fall of 1833 and, despite the presence of many talented rivals, succeeded in building up an appreciative clientele. Among his patrons was Allan Gilmour, who, aside from views of his shipyard, commissioned this picture of "Corbeau, a Trotting Horse" - Canada's first horse portrait. His black coat gleaming, the animal is shown in profile on the Plains of Abraham, at a spot not far from the city's race course. The view behind stretches across the St. Lawrence to the south shore. A stone at the lower left bears the horse's name, along with the date of the painting.