Boer War Page 90y

Rare Boer War Discoveries

Below are some of the items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve memorabilia from this period.

Boer War "Discoveries of the Summer" ( 2004)

King Edward VII by Georges Delfosse 1869-1939
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
King Edward VII, 1902
Orig. oil on canvas 1902 - Image Size - 20" x 26"
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed & dated Georges Delfosse, Mai 1902
A Mystery Gentleman: At a recent auction of a well-known Canadian antique collector's estate, one picture attracted little attention, as anonymous portraits often do. This one was simply called "A Gentleman" in the catalogue because the curator, whose strong suit was not history, did not recognize the subject.

And neither did anyone else.

Other people should have paid more close attention. After all it was a huge oil on board, 20 x 26, and it was painted and signed by Georges Marie Joseph Delfosse (1869-1939), a noted Canadian painter, right as he looked in 1890.

But even after a week of previewing, when his turn came at auction, still no one recognized that the "anonymous gentleman" was, after all, King Edward VII, ruler of the British Empire after the death of Queen Victoria.

Besides the uncanny likeness, there was another dead giveaway that went unnoticed by the curator and buyers alike: the oil was clearly signed "Mai 1902." That was, of course, the year that Edward was crowned King, the first coronation in the British Empire in 65 years.

It was a cause for a super celebration around the "red parts" of the world. Clearly Delfosse was caught up in the historic moment. He painted the "Sovereign King of Canada," the month before the coronation was due to be held.

But it was all lost on the auction literati.

So Edward went cheap!

Georges Delfosse, below in 1900, as he looked when he painted the portrait. Besides painting exquisite portraits, he also painted numerous religious and historical murals for churches in Montreal, like those on the magnificent ceiling for the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, today a protected Quebec Historic Property.
Edward VII: Edward VII should have been recognized by Canadians in touch with their heritage. He was, after all, the highest ranked member of the British Royal Family ever to visit Canada, when he came as Prince of Wales, in 1860.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Edward Prince of Wales, c 1870
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 9.5" x 11"
Found - Jordan, ON
Hand coloured in original frame & glass, a mate to a similar portrait of Princess Alexandra
The Prince's visit was to herald the coming union of four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, as the new Dominion of Canada. Queen Victoria, the Prince's mother had selected Ottawa as the new nation's capital in 1857.

In those days Canada only reached as far as the Great Lakes. Beyond that, it was mostly inaccessible wilderness, all ruled by the Hudson's Bay Company. So Edward only toured Canada as far as Lake Ontario which he could reach by ship.

While in Canada Edward opened Victoria Hall, a magnificent public building in Cobourg, ON, and the Great Victoria Bridge in Montreal, PQ. Both are still standing and in full service today. He was also supposed to ride on another inaugural railway bridge across Rice Lake, north of Cobourg, but the organizers found the bridge so wobbly they feared for his life. The Prince went around the lake by carriage. Today, only the gravel ramps on the shore remain of a failed railway venture.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Construction, Victoria Bridge, Montreal, 1859
Orig. lithograph - Image Size - 9" x 12"
Found - New York, NY
Orig. lithograph in two tints on fine wove paper, published as "Staging the Centre Tube," by John Weale, London, 1860
The Great Victoria Bridge: The Victoria Bridge - named in honour of Queen Victoria - was created as the longest bridge in the world. It was built by engineer James Hodges, right, as a long tube, of closed square boxes riveted together. Left is shown the assembly of the "centre tube." In spite of setbacks because of ice and the extreme cold, the bridge was opened to rail traffic on Dec. 19, 1859.

The smoke inside - not to mention the noise in the enclosed space - as a train went through, was horrific. The boxes were ultimately replaced with the open grillwork the bridge has today.

The Victoria Bridge was officially opened by Prince Edward during his visit in September, 1860. This marvellous lithograph captures a wonderful moment in the history of one of Canada's greatest construction projects.

A Marvel of the Age: The construction project was one of the marvels of the age. All construction materials had to be brought to the piers by rafts and ships of various kinds.

In parallel to the construction, Hodges produced two volumes detailing the work on the bridge. The book featured sumptuous lithographs from which these have been disbound. The two books intact, are available for sale on the internet for $22,500 US. Call us if you would like to buy them and donate them to the Boer War Museum.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Construction, Victoria Bridge, Montreal, 1859
Orig. lithograph - Image Size - 9" x 12"
Found - New York, NY
Orig. lithograph in two tints on fine wove paper, published as "View from Below South Abutment," by John Weale, London, 1860
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Edward, Prince of Wales, 1860
Orig. lithograph - Image Size - 11" x 17.5"
Found - Toronto, ON
Orig. lithograph, pub. 1860, painted by F Winterhalter in 1859, drawn on stone by JA Vinter
Only in Canada:

Left is a rare lithograph of "HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS ALBERT EDWARD PRINCE OF WALES From a picture, the property of Her Majesty the Queen, graciously lent for publication and distribution exclusively in Canada in Commemoration of the Visit of His Royal Highness."

This gives a wonderful image of what the Prince looked like as he toured Canada.

Edward became famous for having to wait 41 more years for his mother to die so he could be King. He spent the time in sundry pursuits involving too much wine, women, and eating. He finally became King in 1902, but ruled only till 1910, when he died.


c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000