'Indians at Fort Rupert, Vancouver's Island, July 1851' [Canada]

No. 54 in Fanshawe's Pacific album, 1849 - 52. Captioned by the artist on the album page below the image, as title, with the additional inscription '1 and 3 are Indians from Fort Simpson'. This appears to mean the figure on the left and the seated one, centre, both in dark blanket robes. For notes on Fort Rupert and Fanshawe's reason for going there, see his related view of it, PAI4664. Modern Fort Rupert is an historic Kwakwaka'wakw village of the Kwagu'ł (Kwagyewlth or Kwakiutl) subgroup, specializing in traditional Indian crafts: apart from Fanshawe's figures no. 1 and 3, the others may be from this tribal group.

Fort Simpson was a fur trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1831 near the mouth of the Nass River, on the adjoining mainland of British Columbia. In 1834 it was moved to the Tsimpsean Peninsula, about halfway between the Nass and Skeena Rivers. Though other groups were involved, the local Tsimshian people dominated the indigenous side of the fur trade at Fort Simpson and the two dark-robed figures Fanshawe indicates may therefore be from that sub-group. The seated native figure in a hat below bears comparison with similar ones drawn in the Canadian north-west by John Webber on Cook's third voyage, 1776 -80. Fanshawe's 'Daphne' reached Fort Rupert on Beaver Harbour after sailing from Esquimault on 3 July and remained to the 10th. The structure on the right may be the flank of Fort Rupert though the decoration suggests the gate shown is into an Indian quarter.

Object Details

ID: PAI4661
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Places: Vancouver Island
Date made: Jul 1851
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 126 x 178 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of Madeira, Brazil, the Falkland and Pacific Islands, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Vancouver, and California (Album)

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