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In 1883, the Canadian Government commissioned Robert Harris to paint the Charlottetown Conference of September 1864. The work was to include the 23 Fathers of Confederation, and secretary Hewitt Bernard. Asked to change the setting to the larger Quebec Conference of October that same year, Harris added ten figures. A preliminary charcoal sketch was made in Charlottetown, and the final work was painted in Montreal. In May 1884, it was hung in the Parliament Building in Ottawa. It went to England's Festival of Empire in 1911, after which it returned to Canada. It was destroyed when the Parliament Building burned February 3, 1916.

On September 1, 1964 - one hundred years after the Charlottetown Conference - the same scene began to emerge again. Rex Woods was embarking on a commission from the insurance company, Confederation Life, to recreate the heirloom for presentation to the nation during 1967 Centennial celebrations. Three delegates to the London Conference of 1866 - who had been officially recognized during the Diamond Jubilee in 1927 - were added on the right. The portrait above them is a tribute to Robert Harris. His signature is on the portfolio at the left, as in the original painting.

The Fathers of Confederation

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      The Fathers of Confederation:     
 
 
  1. Hewitt Bernard, secretary
  2. William Henry Steeves
  3. Edward Whelan
  4. William Alexander Henry
  5. Charles Fisher
  6. John Hamilton Gray, P.E.I.
  7. Edward Palmer
  8. George Coles
  9. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley
  10. Sir Frederic B. T. Carter
  11. Jean-Charles Chapais
  12. Sir Ambrose Shea
  13. Edward Barron Chandler
  1. Sir Alexander Campbell
  2. Sir Adams George Archibald
  3. Sir Hector-Louis Langevin
  4. Sir John Alexander Macdonald
  5. Sir George-Etienne Cartier
  6. Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché
  7. George Brown
  8. Thomas Heath Haviland
  9. Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt
  10. Peter Mitchell
  11. James Cockburn
  12. Sir Oliver Mowat
  1. Robert Barry Dickey
  2. Sir Charles Tupper
  3. John Hamilton Gray, N.B.
  4. William Henry Pope
  5. William McDougall
  6. Thomas D'Arcy McGee
  7. Andrew Archibald Macdonald
  8. Jonathan McCully
  9. John Mercer Johnson
  10. Robert Duncan Wilmot
  11. Sir William Pearce Howland
  12. John William Ritchie
Title: The Fathers of Confederation
Object name: Painting
Artist: Rex Woods
Date: 1968
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 213.36 x 365.72 cm
Catalogue no.: O-609
 
   
 
 
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Last Update: November 2014