Fr Download Book All Art Books Home

Richard Short (active 1748–1777)

Richard Short

Richard Short, Dominic Serres, and James Mason, The Town and Harbour of Halifax in Nova Scotia, as appears from George Island, 1764
Engraving on laid paper, image: 33.6 x 50.2 cm
Anna Leonowens Gallery Archives, NSCAD University, Halifax

The finest early images of the new city of Halifax were created by Richard Short, a Royal Navy purser who served on several ships during the Seven Years’ War. Short worked on the HMS Prince of Orange as part of General Wolfe’s fleet bound to lay siege to Quebec City. While his ship was moored in Halifax Harbour in 1759, Short took the opportunity to come ashore and make sketches of the bustling town, then just ten years old. His six views of the town are among the earliest images of Halifax in existence (a view drawn by another naval officer, John Gauntlet, survives from 1754, and there are two decorated maps by Moses Harris [1730–1787] that date to 1749 and 1750).

 

Richard Short, Dominic Serres, and François Antoine Aveline, The Governor’s House and St. Mather’s Meeting House in Hollis Street, also looking up George Street, 1764, engraving on laid paper, image: 33 x 51.1 cm, Anna Leonowens Gallery Archives, NSCAD University, Halifax.
Richard Short, Dominic Serres, and Ignace Fougeron, The Church of Saint Paul and the Parade at Halifax in Nova Scotia, 1764, engraving on laid paper, image: 35.8 x 50.5 cm, Anna Leonowens Gallery Archives, NSCAD University, Halifax.

 

In 1761 Short published six views of Halifax and twelve views of Quebec City as editions of prints available for sale in London. He also commissioned Royal Academician Dominic Serres (1719–1793) to make oil paintings of the Halifax views, four of which are now in the collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Serres was working for a publisher who produced prints of such images, and that may well have been the connection between the former purser and the distinguished academician—who was later appointed Marine Painter to George III.