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News Release

Rare Historical Watercolours Exhibited In Quebec City

Library and Archives Canada and Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec unveil paintings that depict 18th-century Canada

Quebec City, January 19, 2004  -  Library and Archives Canada and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec announce the opening of an exhibition of 13 recently discovered Benjamin Fisher watercolours. The launch is to take place at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec in Quebec City, on Monday, January 19, 2004, at 4:15 p.m. The exhibition will run until February 29, 2004.

The watercolours were executed in the late 1700s by Benjamin Fisher, an officer in the British Army and a trained painter. They represent some of the earliest depictions of Montréal, Quebec City and the Niagara region. The paintings were discovered in 2003, in Oxford, England, and purchased by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Library and Archives Canada.

"The purchase of these works of art is the result of a collaborative effort between federal and provincial governments. Canadian Heritage was pleased to contribute to this acquisition through funding made possible under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, which aims to protect and preserve Canada’s social and cultural heritage," said the Honourable Hélène Chalifour Scherrer, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

"Thanks to this acquisition, the prestigious Fisher watercolours have become part of Canada’s heritage. They are now accessible to all Canadians," said Ian E. Wilson, National Archivist of Canada.

"We are pleased to add to our museum such a treasure of Quebec. Thanks to the collaboration of two governments, our heritage can be shared with visitors from around the world," emphasized the Member for Jean Talon, Assistant Government Whip (Quebec), Margaret Delisle.

"The repatriation of the Fisher watercolours is magical in a sense, in that it allows our collective spirit a magnificent voyage through time. It is through an exemplary and effective collaboration that we celebrate today the recovery of painted images from more than two centuries ago, images that had remained unseen until very recently," said John R. Porter, Director General, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

The acquisition of these watercolours by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Library and Archives Canada would not have been possible without the additional financial assistance of Export Development Canada.


For more information, please contact:

Louisa Coates
Media Relations Officer
Library and Archives Canada

Thu-Hoa Bui
Public Relations Officer
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
Tel.: 418-644-6460 ext. 5523