Tuesday, April 17, 2012
On Meeting My Cover Artist
When I first saw the painting that would be used on the cover of my upcoming biography, Laura Secord, Heroine of the War of 1812, I became curious about who the artist might be.
His name was Henry Sandham, and he lived from 1842 to 1910. The painting, titled "Laura Secord," can be seen on the Collections Canada website where it is part of a set of reproductions, "Canadian Historical Paintings," that feature the works of C. W. Jeffries and Henry Sandham.
Henry Sandham was born in Montreal where his father and two brothers had a house-painting business in the Griffithtown area of the city. Henry decided against going into the family business, determined instead to pursue an artistic career. His father strongly disapproved and withdrew his support, leaving the boy on his own. At fourteen, Henry got a job as an errand boy at the studio of Montreal photographer William Notman. By the age of eighteen, Henry became the assistant to John Arthur Fraser at the Notman Studio.
Although there was no art school in Montreal at the time, Notman added an art department to his studio in 1860. Henry got his training there though his contact with John Fraser and three other local artists. He married Fraser's sister Agnes in 1865, and by 1868 he was head of the art department.
Henry Sandham's watercolours and oil paintings were part of the landscape movement that characterized Canadian art at the time of Confederation.
In 1877 Sandham illustrated his first article in the New York magazine Scribner's Monthly. A painter, illustrator, and photographer, he was made a charter member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 1880. Sandham eventually settled in Boston where he was able to concentrate entirely on his art. In 1901 he moved to London, England, and he died there in 1910.