Introduction - A Collector's Passion The Peter Winkworth Collection - Exhibitions - Library and Archives Canada
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Canada -- A Collector’s Passion
The Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana

The Peter Winkworth Collection at Library and Archives Canada is a nationally significant, rare, and valuable art collection that documents more than four centuries of Canadian history. This comprehensive collection is the culmination of one person’s passion for early Canadian art and is a testament to his commitment to preserving Canada’s heritage.

A Canadian-born collector now residing in Britain, Peter Winkworth began collecting some 45 years ago during which time he amassed one of the largest private collections of Canadiana art. Collecting on this scale requires knowledge and a keen eye, resources, and above all a sustained passion. Mr. Winkworth has all these qualities and attributes, as well as a desire to share his collection with Canadians. Over the years, he has loaned works from his collection to several important exhibitions and contributed to research on early Canadian art.

In 2002, with the assistance of funds from the Government of Canada, the National Archives of Canada purchased more than 700 watercolours and drawings, more than 3,300 prints and 9 paintings from Mr. Winkworth’s London-based collection, thus keeping this irreplaceable treasure intact. Together with the acquisition of the W. H. Coverdale Collection in 1970 and the Four Indian Kings paintings in 1977, the Peter Winkworth Collection is one of the most important acquisitions of documentary art ever made by the National Archives.

This exhibition highlights unique aspects of the Peter Winkworth Collection. Through a selection of watercolours and drawings, as well as through an assortment of rare prints, key places, people and events in Canadian history, as well as scenes from daily life in Canada are presented. Many of the prints are not known outside of this collection. Lesser-known aspects of the print collection, especially the Canadian artist etchings and early Canadian-made prints are presented in a special section entitled the Print Cabinet.

The quality and range of the collection attests to Mr. Winkworth’s expertise and his passion for Canada’s history. It is now preserved at Library and Archives Canada for future generations to discover. Enjoy our virtual exhibition!