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James D. Duncan

(1805 -  1881 )
DUNCAN james d. Montreal From The Mountain And The Priests Farm

Bonhams
Nov 23, 2009
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Along with James D. Duncan, our clients also searched for the following authors:
Francois-Adolphe Grison, Edith Scannell, Charles Joseph Beauverie, Henry Bacon, Pierre Le Boeuff, Friedrich Von Puteani, Valentine, Val Davis
Artworks in Arcadja
10

Some works of James D. Duncan

Extracted between 10 works in the catalog of Arcadja
James D. Duncan - Shooting The Rapids

James D. Duncan - Shooting The Rapids

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 62
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
JAMES DUNCAN, R.C.A. SHOOTING THE RAPIDS

watercolour, heightened with gouache

signed

6.5 ins x 9.5 ins; 15.2 cms x 23.5 cms

Provenance:

Private Collection, Montreal

Literature:

Dennis Reid,

A Concise History of Canadian Painting

(3rd edition), Oxford University Press, Don Mills, 2012, page 30.

Note:

Dennis Reid remarks upon how little is known about James Duncan given that he was active in the Montreal area for over fifty years. He adds that George Spendlove \“a pioneer scholar of Canadian topographical art has said that \‘no artist has been more neglected by Canadians... although he was possibly for some years t

he best water-colourist in Canada

(italics ours)\’\’.\”
James D. Duncan - Hayes House Fire, Montreal

James D. Duncan - Hayes House Fire, Montreal

Original 1852
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 137
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
James D. Duncan
ARCA SCA 1805 - 1881 Canadian
Hayes House Fire, Montreal
oil on canvas 1852
initialed faintly and on verso titled as Barracks, Notre-Dame Street, Hayes House and Theatre Royal, Officers Barracks on the Walter Klinkhoff certificate
11 1/2 x 16 in 29.2 x 40.6cm
Provenance:
Private Collection, Toronto
On July 8, 1852, a fire engulfed and destroyed almost half of Montreal's housing. When it was over, 1,200 buildings had been destroyed and 10,000 people were left homeless - a fifth of Montreal's population at the time. The fire started at Brown’s Tavern on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and spread to the wooden houses built nearby. In The Gazette of July 10, 1852, a journalist wrote: “Within half an hour, a hundred houses were on fire. They were generally the dwellings of poor artisans and labourers, and it was a heart-rending spectacle to see the poor people gathering their few household goods together and carrying them to a place where the fire would reach them a few minutes after.” Despite the devastating loss of property, no deaths were reported.
The Saint-Jacques Cathedral and the diocesan building attached to it, on the corner of Saint-Denis and Saint-Catherine Streets, constructed around 1822, were also destroyed. The cathedral has been reconstructed and destroyed several times since. Today, since 1973, the facade with its spire, built in 1876, which is considered a historical monument, is integrated into the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The Théâtre Royal, also known as the Royal-Hays, in existence from 1847 to 1952, is represented in the background of our painting, facing us. The Hayes House mentioned in the title was the name of one of the finest hotels in Montreal - it is the building on fire on the right. Both were located on Dalhousie Square, where James Duncan shows the people gathering their belongings, as well as the soldiers and volunteers helping them. The Dalhousie Square we see here does not exist any more - only a tiny road, Dalhousie Street, keeps the memory of the name, given in honour of General George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie, governor general of British North America from 1820 to 1828. During the fire, the volunteer firemen and soldiers worked hard and succeeded in saving some important buildings, such as the Notre-Dame Church and Montreal General Hospital, then situated on Dorchester Street. Nevertheless, the Great Fire of 1852 was one of the greatest catastrophes endured by Montreal in its history.
Duncan was born in Northern Ireland and immigrated to Canada in 1825. He was a professional artist and teacher of drawing. By 1831, John Samuel McCord, the father of the McCord Museum's founder, had already commissioned Duncan to paint views of the Montreal region. The McCord collection contains numerous examples of Duncan's work. These paintings are an invaluable resource as they depict Montreal between the years of 1831 and 1878, when it was expanding rapidly. But more relevant to our subject matter, the McCord Museum holds a larger oil on board in its collection entitled Burning of Hayes House, Dalhousie Square, Montreal, a slightly different version of our painting, as well as a print done after the painting, around 1900. Both works were donated by the founder of the museum, David Ross McCord. The differences between the two paintings are minimal - for instance, in the McCord painting, the snowshoes in the foreground of our painting are now on the left, and the chest held by two individuals on the right in this painting has become a sofa. In each work, there are differences in some of the items piled in the square. We do not know which painting came first, this work or the McCord Museum painting, but what we do know is that both works are fascinating, and could be described as "the" paintings on the 1852 fire in Montreal.
We thank François-Marc Gagnon of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University, for contributing the above essay.
This work is accompanied by a photograph certificate from Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc. signed by Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal, January 17, 1975.
James D. Duncan - Sailing In Coastal Waters

James D. Duncan - Sailing In Coastal Waters

Original 1874
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 515
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
Lot 515

Anglo/American School,

19th Century

Portrait of the British Ship
James Duncan

Sailing in Coastal Waters.

Signed and dated "J. Sanders 1874" l.l. Oil on canvas,

20 x 30 in.,

in a period molded giltwood frame. Condition: Relined,

scattered retouch to vessel and background.

Allover scattered small spots of retouch mostly to sky and vessel.
James D. Duncan - Montreal From The Mountain And The Priests Farm

James D. Duncan - Montreal From The Mountain And The Priests Farm

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Net Price
Lot number: 205
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
James D. Duncan, ARCA (Canadian,
1805-1881)
Montreal from the Mountain and the Priests Farm

inscribed with title (lower centre)

monochrome watercolour

39.4

x 59.5cm

(15 1/2

x 23
7/16in).
Footnote: James Duncan painted many watercolours of
Montreal and the surrounding area. Many of his watercolours were
used as a basis for his prints. There is a similar view titled
"Montreal (From the Mountain)", which was published as a lithograph
by Matthews Lithography on October 13th, 1843. The view shows the
Cathedral of Notre Dame with the twin towers. Construction was
completed in 1843. However this watercolour shows the cathedral
without the towers, which dates it approximately to the year of
1839. Construction on the first twin tower was not completed until
1841. In 1839, Newton Bosworth published a lithograph titled
"City of Montreal from the Mountain" in "Hochelaga Depicta". This
image bears many similarities to the watercolour. This includes a
depiction of Notre Dame without the twin towers. It can therefore
be presupposed that this watercolour is the one used as a basis for
the lithograph. Literature: Mary Allodi, "Printmaking
in Canada, the earliest views and portraits" Toronto 1980, pp
176,177. Provenance: Private collection,
Montreal
James D. Duncan - Tobogganing On A Hillside, Near Montreal

James D. Duncan - Tobogganing On A Hillside, Near Montreal

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 239
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
James D. Duncan (1806-1881) Tobogganing on a hillside, near Montreal signed \‘J. Duncan\’\’\’\’ (lower right) watercolour heightened with white on paper 6 1/8 x 8 5/8in. (15.5 x 20.6cm.)
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