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Gatineau, Quebec, September 20, 2012 – Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is launching its new travelling exhibition I Know You by Heart: Portrait Miniatures, at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.
“Original travelling exhibitions like I Know You by Heart illustrate LAC’s commitment to making the country’s documentary heritage accessible to all Canadians, wherever they live,” said Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
I Know You by Heart features 35 miniatures from LAC’s collection, an oil painting loaned by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and a five-minute bilingual video. The exhibition showcases portraits with fascinating stories, notably that of Alice Walker, the portrait around which LAC built the branding for the exhibition, and of Demasduit, the only known portrait of a Beothuk person created from life.
The portrait of Alice Walker is the only known miniature created by her father, Canadian artist Horatio Walker. He painted it for his wife Jeannette, following the death of their daughter from diphtheria at the age of nine. The leather carrying case shows visible signs of wear, as though it had been opened almost daily by one or both of her parents.
The portrait of Demasduit was painted by Lady Hamilton, the wife of then Governor Sir Charles Hamilton. In March 1819, ongoing clashes between European fishermen and the Beothuk resulted in the capture of Demasduit, who was painted while she was being held prisoner.
“This exhibition provides an opportunity for New Brunswickers to view these personal mementos from Canada’s past, and experience the stories they tell. The New Brunswick Museum is proud to be its host”, said Jane Fullerton, Chief Executive Officer, New Brunswick Museum.
Portrait miniatures hold a special place of interest within the genre of portraiture. Portable and private, these treasured pieces were worn as jewellery, tucked inside a pocket, or kept in the home in a special place for daily viewing and remembrance.
There are over 100 portrait miniatures in LAC’s holdings, ranging from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Our modern-day miniature keepsakes are the pictures we keep on the screens of our portable devices—evidence that we still need to keep the people we care for close by when we are parted.
I Know You by Heart: Portrait Miniatures opens September 20, 2012 at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John and runs until December 31, 2012. Following that, the exhibition will make its way to Saskatoon where it will be shown at the Mendel Art Gallery for the spring season.
About Library and Archives Canada
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, thereby contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. Library and Archives Canada also facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
About the New Brunswick Museum
The New Brunswick Museum, a provincial Crown Corporation, researches, collects, preserves and interprets the natural and cultural heritage of New Brunswick. The Museum has diverse and extensive collections of artifacts, artwork and archives and specimens from the province and around the world. The Museum’s Exhibition Center, located in Saint John’s Market Square, offers three floors and 60,000 square feet of exhibition spaces and a wide range of public programs. The Collections Centre and Archives and Research Library are based at the Museum’s original site on Douglas Avenue, Saint John.
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