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Winnipeg Looking North From Near Upper Fort Garry, 1870

by Kemp

Manitoba Pageant, Winter 1972, Volume 17, Number 2

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

This finely executed watercolour shows a view of Winnipeg at the time the Red River uprising. The detail in buildings and people indicates It the artist had probably been trained as a draftsman. This was quite common practice in the mid-nineteenth century. Little is known about artist, Kemp, except that he was a Canadian and some of his paintings were used in book illustrations in the period 1871-73. The figure standing in the path to the bridge is wearing an army uniform, and this gives rise to the supposition that Kemp may have come west with the Wolseley expedition. The Red River cart is immediately recognizable and we have a detailed drawing of a Métis horseman in the left foreground. One of the nice things about paintings of this period, is that we are able to see the artist's view in colour; thus adding to our feeling for the time and the scene, many of the buildings of which have been identified. Examination of the Indian encampment will show Kemp's eye for detail; notice the children playing and the cooking pots on the fire. It is interesting to realize that this is the same view that Riel, Schultz, Scott, et al., would have had of the little town of Winnipeg as they walked north from the Fort.

James B. Stanton
Chief, Human History Division
Manitoba Museum of Man & Nature

Page revised: 20 July 2009

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