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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous pen and ink sketch, done by a very talented artist, of a brawl in a tent camp during the Yukon Gold Rush of 1898.

Even though this was in Canada, a huge proportion of the gold seekers were Americans who were fresh from the Wild West where they were routinely shooting Indian women and children, lynching outlaws and Blacks, and just generally raising hell on the Wild Frontier.

They brought their American lifestyle with them to Canada, where none of these activities were tolerated.

Deadly domestic mayhem on a grand scale is the inevitable result when Americans arrive in your neighbourhood, like say, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and coming up, Iran...

The artist has wonderfully captured a wide variety of human characters, and judging from the detail, obviously witnessed this brawling first hand.

And It's going to get worse; reinforcements with sticks are arriving in the rear.

Probably Americans, you know, shouting "The Battle Cry of Freedom..." to exploit the weak...


Resisting the Claim Jumpers, Yukon Gold Rush - WH 1898

Orig. pen & ink - Image Size - 20 x 28 cm
Found - London, ON

History Repeats on Me - Very likely American claim-jumpers were victimizing some Canadians who are resisting mightily. Just like in Afghanistan where Americans want their hands on the trillions of dollars of natural resources they have just recently discovered lie there. The Afghans are fighting back the same way against the invading robbers.

There is a difference now though; the Canadians have joined the claim-jumpers. Eagerly copying their American cousins, they too have developed a taste for killing - their top general brags about it - and fighting colonial wars to get their hands on natural resources their hapless Muslim owners are too weak to protect.

The Power of CW Jefferys

The books that most profoundly affected me, as a boy of nine or ten, were the three frail green volumes of the Picture Gallery of Canadian History, which I discovered in a rural public school in south western Ontario, in 1951.

I would leaf through the thousands of images often, mesmerized by the endless array of historic artifacts and personalities which CW had drawn to document the heritage of the development of Canada.

After all, this was the stuff that made up the newly adopted country for a young immigrant boy.

How big was CW's impact on this young boy?

I had probably last looked through CW's books in 1956, when I left public school, and the books, behind.

In 2010, when I suddenly saw this large pen and ink drawing appearing, without a proper title, at a major Toronto auction house, I knew instantly who it was: CW's image of Lord Selkirk in Manitoba. (The auction simply listed it as "Cementary Gathering" (sic)).

55 years after having last seen it, and having paid it no special attention, among thousands of other CW drawings, I still knew, in a flash, who, and what it was.

And now, some 60 years after I had first seen his drawings, I thrilled to hold in my hands his original, the very paper on which he had slaved with his hand, his eye, his talent, his intelligence, and his boundless knowledge of Canada and Canadians.

Don't be a dupe... use a loupe...

The Eyes have it... Left Lord Selkirk's eye from this original pen and ink drawing, hugely magnified, shows no uniform pattern, or grid of rows of dots, like those that entirely cover the Queen Victoria photomechanically reproduced photo right. That's how to tell if it's an original - and valuable - and the Queen Victoria photo copy, a reproduction or repro - and cheap.

Think about it... In the original sketch of Lord Selkirk's eye, you are seeing the actual ink of the drawing itself magnified - the real artwork, directly, personally, sketched by CW Jefferys, and the very paper on which he worked. His hand touched it.

Repro you dupe... In Queen Victoria's eye, you are seeing only a photographic mechanical reproduction of the photo, not the real photo emulsion itself. Recopying the original surface mechanically - either the photo emulsion, or an original painting or print - with a camera and then creating a copy with a machine printer, creates and superimposes the grid of dots on the image.

CW's impact on me of conveying the people, places, and events of Canadian history, was profound.

As it was for generations of countless other Canadians.

Especially to immigrants, like CW and I both were, enthralled with the story of Canada, and all it meant in our lives as citizens of this adopted country.

 

The art of pen and ink drawing is certainly one of the most difficult of the portrait arts, the artist having to use single lines, dots, and scratches, to give form, depth, perspective, and character to scenics and faces.

CW was a master. It took great talent to do some scratches with ink, up close, so that when you stepped back, you had a twinkle in Lord Selkirk's eye...

 

Go to CW Jefferys

 

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous historical work, in pen and ink, from probably the finest ever artist in the medium, Canadian CW Jefferys 1869-1951.

As one of Canada's top artists of the 20th century, CW created literally thousands of his master works in pen and ink.

And more than any other artist in the world he lived to see more of his pen and ink drawings published.

This work is an original used to illustrate his three volume Picture Gallery of Canadian History which was published between 1943-1950.

It is the finest document in existence which records, for all time, the people, places, and events of a people, covering as it does the pictorial history of Canada, through thousands of illustrations of its cultural, political, and military life and the important people and artifacts over some 350 years.


Lord Selkirk Naming Kildonan, 1817 - CW Jefferys 1945
Orig. drawing - Size - oa 37 x 46 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Original Art (Pen & Ink Drawing) - Originals & Repros 7

1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005

This picture actually captures the real horror of the battle at Colenso, and war generally. Men and horses get slaughtered.

Hayman's pen and ink sketch has wonderfully captured the look of panic in the horse's eye as it surveys the ghastly scene in front of it.

No dumb animal, it knows this is no place for man or beast, though the political leaders of the day, who orchestrated this event, feel otherwise.

It is not a horror they want shared with their electorate, who might just be as appalled as the horse at what is unfolding and refuse to support a war which is ghastly beyond belief.

Below on the left one horse watches as two of his mates are down. One is spurting blood from its mouth; another is going down on the right.

And men are down: a driver is pinned and probably dead under the dead horse, his hand under its neck; another is crawling in anguish in the back; a third is being trampled by a team in the rear.

The real horror of what is going on cannot be appreciated until one notes that the white clouds along the ridges, are, in fact, solid walls of gun smoke from a deadly rifle fire, at close range from hundreds of Boers firing non - stop into the helplessly exposed men and horses. Very few survived.

(In fact it is probably the worst massacre of a British artillery unit in history. The Boers captured 10 of the 12 British guns. Losing any gun is the worst disgrace an army could suffer in Victorian times.)

Broken limbs, bodies, blood gushing... horrible. But it's what men do to each other in war...

A fine realistic picture, but no press baron would publish it in 1900 lest it undermine the war effort.

Hundreds of thousands of horses were killed in the Boer War, and thousands of British soldiers, in the most photographed war in history.

Yet it is virtually impossible to find any photo of a dead horse, or a dead British soldier, published in any British publication, during the most "pictured" war in history, with tens of thousands of war images published from October 1899 till December 1900.

 

 

We have seen one photo showing one or two dead horses at Colenso (out of scores that were killed.) And one at Elandslaagte. That's it pretty well, for the whole war.

Sometimes British artists sketched one "tastefully dead" horse in a picture.

No blood; no gore; no twisted limbs: no horrid death throes like those shown in the Hayman sketch.

Though the British did publish a few pictures showing Boers blown apart.

The Boers retaliated by publishing numerous large and famous photos of the British dead, grotesquely distorted after the Battle of Spion Kop, from which the British retreated in January 1900, after losing hundreds killed.

These famous propaganda photos are collectors items today.

 

 

 

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Another fabulous pen and ink sketch of the same event, the loss of the guns at Colenso, by W Hayman, which he drew only weeks after the event.

But what a difference; same event but totally different images. Will the real historic event please stand up...!

We now know this is the picture of what really happened; the John Innes picture is what the press barons at the time wanted people to see.

Innes - probably paid by a newspaper publisher, "John, give us a heroic, patriotic spin" - took pay to tart up a picture that would win popular support for the war so the public would continue to fund the conflict, and young men more eager to sign up to fight and die for their political elites country.

Hayman gave us a picture no newspaper baron at the time would publish. But it would have undermined public support for a war the political elites wanted.

Colouring the news is what media calumnists in any country are paid to do, which is why there is such a feverish, ongoing clamour by the rich, especially in "democracies," to get total control of all media outlets so they can impose their views on what "news" citizens will be allowed to get. You got it; exactly like in the Fascist dictatorships, for the same reason.


Loss of the Guns at Colenso - W Hayman, Feb. 1900

Orig. pen and ink - Image Size - 30 x 46 cm
Found - London, ON

Superb Creative Artist - Another look at how John Innes used a pen to create form and shadow in an action picture.

Not to mention depth, perspective, dust, atmosphere...

And the coiled body mass of a leaping horse, and a straining driver inside his uniform...

Oh, and don't forget the noise John Innes gets you to hear - horses whinnying as they leap and come crashing down, harness leather creaking, chains clinking, hoofs pounding, whip cracking, driver yelling... and overall the buzzing of bullets cutting the air, and slapping into horse flesh...

Some may feel the stirring of emotion, from the killing of helpless horses...

All done with black ink only, and one thin pen, but the enormous talent of a truly creative artist - John Innes.

Now go find any of this below in this - is it any wonder? - "untitled" work by Canadian modernist artist Riopelle.

Actually we may be confused here. Perhaps this was actually done by famed Canadian painter Emily Carr's pet monkey, Woo... OK, admittedly, perhaps on a bad day. We're not sure.

But we are sure it is not capturing a fine Canadian heritage moment, or a stirring human drama documenting the people, places, and events of a major conflict and battlefield tragedy which saw scores of horses and scores of men cut down.

We actually believe that Riopelle has "lost it" - the chance to create a Great Canadian Heritage Moment... choosing instead to merely waste his time doing "decorator" art for some corporate executive washroom wall...

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous Victorian pen and ink drawing from another master artist, Canadian John Innes, who drew this in the patriotic frenzy in the opening months of the Boer War, when everyone in the British Empire was transfixed with the celebrated Loss of the Guns at Colenso, in December, 1899.

It was one of the three huge British defeats at the hands of the Boers, during Black Week, but British and Canadian artists snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by concentrating on the heroics, instead of the awful losses, and the actual retreat of the British Army from the site.

Refashioning the truth to fool the masses, in effect, turning defeats into victory, is still, in 2010, the main job of journalists and media calumnists, who are working overtime for their rich bosses to make it look like the Canadian Forces and their NATO partners are actually winning a war against those dastardly Muslims in Afghanistan, when, in fact, they have lost more men, territory, and hearts and minds, with every passing year.

Journalists go overboard - hell it's why their bosses pay them well - to hide the fact that the enormous expenditure of Canadian men and treasure, spent to exterminate the "detestable murderers and scumbags," as the Muslims were called by Canadian General Rick Hillier, was a total waste and failure. And to hide the fact that the Taliban, far from being exterminated, will be part of the Government of Afghanistan long after NATO is sent packing in dismal defeat and disgrace.

But saying that is not how the media columnists will earn their pay... Those crafty calumnists, are staying up late, these days, figuring out how to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat...


Pen and Ink Drawing, The Loss of the Guns (at Colenso) - John Innes

Orig. drawing - Image Size - 33 x 49 cm
Found - London, ON

Hallowed Ground - Canadian historian John Goldi stands in exactly the spot where the driver in the sketch is trying to control the horses on the battlefield at Colenso, South Africa.

The stone blocks mark where each gun team of horses was shot down during the battle.

Eight Victoria Crosses were won on this battlefield, the second biggest haul on one spot in British history.