[Halifax: C.H. Belcher, 1839-1840]. Six (of twelve) lithographic views, each approximately 11 1/2 x 17 inches. Minor soiling and wear. Very good. Each view archivally matted to 15 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches, housed together in a red cloth clamshell case, gilt leather label. Item #WRCAM46649
A very rare series of views by an artist who occupies an important place in the history of art in Nova Scotia. Eagar was born in Ireland, and by 1824 he was living just outside St. John's, where he owned a twenty-acre estate. In 1828 he sold the estate and moved into St. John's itself, where he advertised his services as a silhouette maker and teacher of landscape painting. He moved to Nova Scotia in 1834, arriving in Halifax in July of that year, where he opened a Drawing Academy. He became enthusiastically involved in the artistic and intellectual life of the city, painting many notable views of the surrounding scenery. The present work followed on from the success of his other published work: three steel-engraved views printed in Edinburgh, titled ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCENERY OF NOVA SCOTIA (1837). Eagar travelled to Boston to arrange for the printing of his new series of lithographic views, NOVA SCOTIA ILLUSTRATED. They were published periodically in four parts: part I in July 1839, part II in August 1839, and the two final parts (which were published posthumously) in May and August 1840. Each part contained three prints, with a lithographed title in part I (not included in the present set). These highly skilled and evocative views are now very scarce. The Abbey set included only nine of the twelve views, and Spendlove noted that the prints were "quite rare" in 1958. They were enthusiastically received. J.S. Thompson, a local newspaperman, wrote: "Mr. Eagar's first number of 'Illustrations of Nova Scotia...' has appeared. Its reception has given much pleasure both for the beauty of the drawings, and the degree of success which has attended Mr. Eagar's persevering efforts to get his work well-lithographed....We hail Mr. Eagar's work, for its own sake, and the artist's; - and also, because it tends to demonstrate how much beauty and interest lie within easy walk of Halifax, - it will help also to increase taste in this delightful department of intellectual effort, and to make the province better known, and more respected." The present set contains the following views: "Halifax, from the Red Mill, Dartmouth"; "Entrance to Halifax Harbour, from Reeve's Hill, Dartmouth"; "View on Bedford Basin"; "Windsor, N.S. from Fort Hill"; "View from Retreat Farm, Windsor, N.S."; and "View from the Horton Mountains." ABBEY 620 (with 9 of 12 plates). J. Russell Harper, EARLY PAINTERS AND ENGRAVERS IN CANADA, p.100. Spendlove, THE FACE OF EARLY CANADA, p.33.