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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure This fabulous heritage item comes from the estate of celebrated Canadian antique expert John Russell of Montreal and Gananoque, Ontario. He must have considered it special because, of the millions of items that passed through his hands over the decades, he kept this for his private pleasure. The matte of crumpled gold foil, around a gathered blue ribbon, is simply glorious.

The frame is pine but the front surface is thickly "ebonized" giving it a rich lacquered "Japanned" look that was in demand in the 1870s and copied from the Orient. It is a Victorian "ladder type" frame, decorated in the Eastlake style, which was just becoming popular in the 1870s. Eastlake was a style of machine manufactured furniture which was just beginning. Before, furniture construction and decoration had been largely hand made and carved. Eastlake furniture, and this frame, was machine manufactured and decorated.

Marquis of Lorne (1845-1914)

A phenomenal memento of Canada's most famous Governor-General of the 19th century, is this fabulous original frame, glass, matte, and CDV of the Marquis of Lorne, who had married Queen Victoria's daughter Louise. He was Governor-General from 1878 to 1883.

Princess Louise's desire to marry a commoner, was heresy in her day and raised a fuss in the Royal Family, but Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister, supported the union against all nay-sayers. The British populace thought it "bloody well time" that a Princess married a Brit instead of another one of those pompous German princes. Their marriage, in 1871, proved to be as happy as any other in the family, and she relished her role as the wife of a Member of Parliament when the Marquis won a seat. She worked hard at promoting better education for women.

Louise and the Marquis preferred the company of artists and other creative people to the stuffed shirts of the aristocracy. Louise herself was an accomplished artist and had designed the memorial to the Canadian casualties of the Boer War in St. Paul's Cathedral.


Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada
Orig. photo - Image Size - 4 x 5.5" oa 9.5 x 13"
Found - Toronto, ON
Photo c 1880, The Estate of John Russell
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Lake Louise, AB, c 1930 - Otto Planding
Orig. oil - Size - 46 x 76 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Lake Louise, c1888 - Marmaduke Matthews
Orig. wc - Size - 33 x 66 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Lake Louise, AB, 1922 - Owen Staples
Orig. wc - Size - 26 x 36 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Three famous mountains serve as the background to Lake Louise, from left to right, the slopes of Mount Aberdeen, the icy peak of Mount Lefroy, and Mount Victoria, the vast central massif which is home to the Victoria glacier.

Prominent in all three is Mount Lefroy, famous as the location of North America's first mountaineering fatality, when the eminent American climber Philip Abbott fell, while unroped, in his attempt to be first to climb the peak, in August 1896. In his memory, with the help of Swiss guide Peter Saarbach, Lefroy was successfully climbed the following year.

The Case of the Passionate Princess

Princess Louise was well known for a passionate interest in sculpting and other similar artistic pursuits. Luckily Queen Victoria had, in the palace, a skillful Sculptor-in-Ordinary, Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, to guide and help her develop her creative passions.
Great Canadian Cop-out: There are those who say that Canada was not to blame for Princess Louise's long absences from Canada. That the real reason she was away in Britain, for half her husband's term of office as Governor-General in Canada, was - two men!

Apparently, the early years of the marriage were stormy, so there are those who say that both of them found solace in the arms of other men!

The Marquis was reportedly a committed - some say passionate - homosexual. Not, perhaps, the best marriage partner for a healthy young woman.

Left, the sensitive poet and writer seems to be pleading "Try and understand me!" but the Princess - perhaps she is anti-gay? - stonily avoids his gaze. She is looking elsewhere...

Looking the Other Way: In every way, a proper English gentleman.
Luckily for the Princess that she had an equally passionate interest in art and sculpture to divert her interest when the tie that once bonded her to her husband grew limp.

She already had an exceedingly famous teacher, Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, who went all out to instruct his passionate pupil in the finer arts. And sculpture too. Apparently she became one of his most receptive pupils, showing an eager aptitude, early on, for taking in everything Sir Joseph could show her.

Though it sometimes caught her off guard, the Princess never took it lying down. Criticism of Sir Joseph, that is.

To his detractors the Princess was firm. "He is no mere Sculptor-in-Ordinary, Sir Joseph is outstanding in all respects..."

It all happened in a studio she had specially built for him in the palace.

Featured here, are two rare images, of Sir Joseph, including one with teacher and student together.

Just what is the Princess looking down at? It doesn't look like it's a travelling brochure to Canada.

Conveniently the Marquis - a proper British gentleman, in all respects - looked the other way.

It was seven years since the Princess had returned from Canada, when sadly, Sir Joseph died quite suddenly, in 1890.

They were both in the studio when it happened...

History does not record if Sir Joseph was doing anything strenuous at the time. Nevertheless the Princess lost her prominent teacher so she could not continue taking instruction from him.

"No," bemoaned the Princess, "Now he reminds me too much of my husband."

It is to be hoped that she found some solace with another equally artful teacher.

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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Princess Louise, Marquise of Lorne
Orig. photo CDV - Size - 4.25 x 6.5"
Found - Grimsby, ON
Photo 1878, by Topley, Ottawa, Canada

A Reluctant Canadian? In 1880, Princess Louise suffered serious injury in a sleighing accident on the way to Parliament, being dragged for several hundred yards by bolting horses. She returned to England to recuperate. Threats of kidnapping by Irish Fenians also made her move to Bermuda for safety for a time in 1882.

In the end she spent half of her husband's five year term, outside Canada. Was this because of cruel experiences in Canada, or were there cracks in this ideal marriage? Read on...

There was talk that Princes Louise didn't like Canada or Canadians, and the feeling did create some tensions, much of it promoted by the press which felt she should have given them much more to write about. But she came back and they soldiered on till they returned to England in 1883.

The Marquis died in 1914; a devoted Louise nursed him through the final stages of Alzheimer's disease. She became somewhat reclusive, almost mirroring her mother's life after the death of Prince Albert. She died at 91 in 1939. She was the longest lived, and most accomplished of Queen Victoria's daughters.

A Cultured Couple: The Marquis was a writer and a poet; Princess Louise preferred to draw and sculpt.

In 1880 the Marquis and Louise were instrumental in founding the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts. They picked the works to feature in the first exhibition; these later became the nucleus of the National Gallery of Canada collection.

In 1882, the North West Territories were subdivided and it was proposed that the new districts be renamed Athabasca, Assiniboine, Saskatchewan, and Louise? in honour of the Princess. She demurred, and requested that her other name Alberta, which she had been given by her father Prince Albert, be used instead.

In 1884, the "Gem of the Rockies," Lake Louise, was named after her. It became the most popular tourist destination in the Canadian Rockies. Most of Canada's leading artists took a crack at trying to capture its beauty.

In 1889 Mount Alberta was dedicated to her, and in 1916 the town site of Lake Louise was named in her honour as well.

In 1905 the province of Alberta was formed taking over the name of the old district that honoured both her and her father.

The Marquis of Lorne - 1845-1914

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada
Orig. photo CDV - Size - 4.25 x 6.5"
Found - Grimsby, ON
Photo 1878, by Topley, Ottawa, Canada
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Lady Agnes Macdonald, Wife of Sir John A Macdonald
Orig. photo CDV - Size - 4.25 x 6.5"
Found - Grimsby, ON
Photo 1878, by Topley, Ottawa, Canada
After the Marquis and Princess Louise arrived in Canada they gave a grand ball (Feb. 1879) that was talked about for years afterwards, to mark the occasion. Sir John A danced with Princess Louise and his wife Agnes with the Marquis. Above is a rare CDV of Sir John A's second wife Agnes, autographed by her probably for a close friend, just a few months before she danced with the newly arrived Governor-General.