Military Hospital, from the East Side of Fort Henry, Kingston
Cataraqui Creek from the Verandah of the Artillery Mess House, Kingston and Military Hospital, Kingston depict views of the garrison town in the early 1830s. As Susan M. Bazely points out in her recent Charles F. Gibson: Events of a Military Life in Kingston (2008), "The British military comprising Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, various regiments and naval personnel accounted for about seven hundred of the roughly five thousand people living in Kingston" at the time (p. 9). Kingston was also the site of intense colonial expansion, with the development of the waterfront, the completion of the Rideau Canal and the building of the new Fort Henry. These watercolours, however, focus on Kingston's surrounding ruralness. In Cataraqui Creek from the Verandah of the Artillery Mess House, Kingston, we look to the north from the Royal Artillery, located along the ridge of today's Montreal Street; and in Military Hospital, Kingston, we see the Fort Henry garrison hospital, built around 1827, including "the guard house, which controlled access to the hospital yard, and the dead house farther down the slope, with Cartwright Point, Whiskey Island and Cedar Island separated by Hamilton Cove" (Bazely, p. 38). 1830s Kingston witnessed a nascent artistic scene. Though the maker of these two watercolours is unknown, a number of military and civilian artists were stationed or settled in the town during this period, including Harriet Dobbs Cartwright (1808-1887), James Pattison Cockburn (1779-1847), Henry Owen Crawley (1796-1870), Edward Charles Frome (1802-1890) and Charles Frederick Gibson (1808-1868), These artists drew upon skillslearned through either military academies, home instruction or copying the work of other artiststo pursue landscape as an artistic pastime and form of documentation.