Drawing Map on Birch-Bark (Rivière Moisie,Labrador Peninsula Expedition,Québec)

Moisie River, Fermont, QC, Canada
Oil on commercial board
30 x 42.3 cm
Courtesy of the Toronto Public Library, J. Ross Robertson Collection
Locate on map View in timeline About the artist

William and his brother Henry Hind traveled up the Moisie River in Quebec in 1861, intending to produce an illustrated ethnographic book similar to publications by fellow Canadian Paul Kane and American George Catlin. Though the publication never came to fruition, sketches from their journey survived. The oil painting, Drawing Map on Birch-Bark, derives from such sketches. It depicts the creation of a map given to Henry by Domenique, the chief of the Montagnais. The actual encounter between the Hinds and Domenique occurred at night, but William took the artistic liberty of setting the scene in the daylight. This allowed him to bring the lush forests to life, forgoing narrative truth in favor of scientific accuracy.