Historic Art | Lucius O'Brien R.C.A.

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The Landing at Tadousac 1882

Technique: pen & ink

Dimensions: 9.75 x 12.25 in.


In 1880 the Belden brothers from Chicago, after success selling county atlases by subscription in southern Ontario, started the massive publishing venture Picturesque Canada. The project was to include 500 drawings of cities and landscapes and be available in editions by subscription. O’Brien was selected as the art editor and also contributed many of his own wood-engravings. The Landing at Tadousac was originally sketched in July 1882, illustrated in Lucius O’Brien: Visions of Victorian Canada, while O’Brien was travelling the country making pictures for the publication. O’Brien refined the sketch in pen & ink, which would have been the basis for engraving, but it was ultimately left out of Picturesque Canada. We know O’Brien made many more of these monochromatic drawings than were needed for the publication. A good example of this is the John Ross collection, which includes fifteen monochrome pen & ink drawings from this period, yet only four are works illustrated in Picturesque Canada.

This work’s scene is not far from Cape Trinity, the subject of O’Brien’s famous Sunrise on the Saquenay, Cape Trinity, 1880.

About the Artist

Lucius O’Brien (1832 – 1899) Lucius O’Brien was born in Shanty Bay, Ontario. He attended the Upper Canada College in Toronto. He received training in Architecture but was self-taught as a painter. O’Brien was vice president of OSA from 1873 to 1880 and became the first president of the RCA in 1880 and remained at this position for ten years. He traveled to the Rockies to paint, initially as a missionary, and later under funding from the Canadian Pacific Railway. “A Dictionary of Canadian Artists” Colin S. MacDonald. 1968. “Early Painters and Engravers of Canada” J. Russell Harper. 1970.
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