|American Watercolors — William Wallace Armstrong - Buffalo Hunters, Halt on Plains|
|William Wallace Armstrong - Buffalo Hunters, Halt on Plains
Medium: Watercolor with body color on paper
Dimensions: 17.9 x 22.8 inches
William Wallace Armstrong (Irish/Canadian, 1822-1914)
The son of a Royal Irish Artillery officer, William Wallace Armstrong studied art in Dublin and served his apprenticeship as an engineer on the Irish and English railways before emigrating to Toronto in 1851. He was a partner in the firm of Armstrong, Beer, & Hine Civil Engineers, Draughtsman and photographers.
Armstrong traveled to Lake Superior in 1859 and from then on took advantage of surveying work to travel and sketch extensively in lands then unsettled by Europeans. He took particular interest in the native populations of the northern plains, such as the Assiniboin and the Sioux, glimpsed in the years immediately prior to their confinement to reservations. Fort William provided him with the opportunity to document the evolving commerce of the area. The Assiniboin natives had an important role in the local commerce - the fur trade - for it was their technology, especially the birch bark canoe and snowshoe, which enabled the Europeans to succeed.
Armstrong's most sought after watercolors are those which he worked up from sketches completed during his travels in 1859 to Fort William (now the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada). Many of these watercolors were presented to the Prince of Wales on his visit to Toronto in September 1860. The drawings in the Royal Collection, housed at Windsor Castle, include similar subjects to the present, suggesting the present watercolors also take their subjects from sketches taken in 1859 between Lake Superior and Winnipeg.