Disasters and Calamities, 1840-1867
After the Storm, NS, 1918, painting by George Horne Russell, copied for Watson Art Gallery
Wm. Notman & Son
1936-1937, 20th century
Silver salts on film (nitrate) - Gelatin silver process
20 x 24 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Art (2774) , painting (2226) , Painting (2229) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
This photograph evokes the calm after the storm. Canadian history is marked by several devastating storms, which left behind on the shore pieces of wrecks, objects from sunken boats or even the bodies of seamen who had perished.
One of the worst storms to unfurl on the coasts of the Maritime Provinces was baptized the "Yankee Gale" at Prince Edward Island in 1851. It left 150 victims, especially American fishermen, which explains the origin of its name. Although it is not known how many boats were destroyed, at least 60 ships were lost. After a storm of this magnitude, the women and children sometimes hesitated for months before going to the beaches for fear of coming across the deadly traces of the catastrophe.
Waterways have long been both a means of subsistence and the main communication and trade routes in Canada. The days followed the rhythm imposed by the access to waterways, depending on the seasons and the weather conditions.
Sable Island, off Nova Scotia, was one of the places in the Maritimes renowned for the large number of shipwrecks on its shores.
The first known tragedy at sea in Canada occurred in 1583 near Sable Island in Nova Scotia, when the Delight foundered, taking at least 85 people to their deaths.
George Horne Russell was a Scottish painter who arrived in Montreal in 1889. He worked for the William Notman photographic studio from 1889 to 1906. He mostly painted portraits and landscapes.