William George Richardson Hind | The Canadian Encyclopedia


William George Richardson Hind

William George Richardson Hind, artist (born 12 June 1833 in Nottingham, England; died 18 November 1889 in Sussex, NB). British-born Hind was an illustrator, painter and watercolourist who produced sketches and paintings of landscapes and people in Canada. He accompanied expeditions to the Moisie River in 1861 and to the Cariboo gold fields in 1862.

William George Richardson Hind

Self-portrait of the artists William George Richardson Hind (ca. 1865–70).
(courtesy Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1937-285-1)

William George Richardson Hind was born in England and immigrated to Canada in 1851. He followed his older brother Henry Youle Hind, who arrived in Toronto in 1846 and taught at the Toronto Normal School. William Hind became “drawing master” at the school (1851–57) and set up an art studio.

In the late 1850s, he returned to England, where he was influenced by the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite artists John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, with their attention to minute detail. He returned to Canada in 1861 and joined his brother's expedition to the Moisie River, which flows into the St. Lawrence River. Hind produced more than 100 sketches on the journey, including his impressions of the landscape and the customs of the local Naskapi and Montagnais. These sketches became the basis of several large watercolour paintings.

Sketch: Crossing the Pembina River, 1862

“Crossing the Pembina River.” Sketch by artist William George Richardson Hind, August 1862.
(Sketch by WGR Hind, courtesy Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1963-97-1.85R)

In 1862, Hind set off with the Overlanders, a party of approximately 150 people travelling from Fort Garry [Winnipeg, Manitoba] to British Columbia in search of gold (see Cariboo Gold Rush). Hind kept a sketchbook on the journey. According to Canadian art historian John Russell Harper, Hind “made himself so objectionable that his comrades ostracized him and he was forced to travel alone for several days before he was forgiven.” Hind recorded the party fording streams, hunting buffalo and passing the time while in camp. He later produced a series of paintings of the journey and life in the west, including mining in the Cariboo.

“Manitobah” Settler's House and Red River Cart

Painting by William George Richardson Hind, ca. 1862.
(courtesy Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1937-283-1)

Hind lived in Victoria, British Columbia, for seven years before heading east, reaching Winnipeg in autumn 1869. The following year he arrived in the Atlantic provinces. His brother had moved to Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1866. Hind then worked for the Intercolonial Railway, likely as a draughtsman, in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Third Rapid on the Moisie
Topographic Painting by William George Richardson Hind (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-13979).

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