Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

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Historical Sense of Place: Market Town, Seascape, and Wartime Images

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George Ackermann
A View of Summerside...
About the Artist and the Work  |   Looking at the Art  |   Artistic and Cultural Heritage
image of artwork
George Ackermann, A View of Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Looking down Central Street from Willow Avenue,1880. Watercolour on paper. 36.5 x 54.5 cm. Collection of CCAG.

Landscape sketches in the form of bird's eye views (or aerial panoramic views) were a popular way of portraying landscapes in the 1800s. They were not just images of place, but were a kind of map of space. One important recorder of landscapes who used these kinds of views was a Canadian immigrant artist named George Ackermann. He created topographical and botanical watercolours - sketches of landscapes and plants. He managed Ackermann and Co., a well-known publisher of topographical prints in London, England, and he travelled frequently, painting in Central and South America.

He emigrated to Canada, settling in Western Canada in 1859. He later spent seven years teaching art in Ontario before moving east in 1877 to Summerside, Prince Edward Island. His views of settlements were shaped by his experience as manager of a London publishing house and art gallery that published bird's eye views and panoramas. He wanted to get away from illustrations that were dull and without atmosphere, and tried to produce images inspired by the true nature of place and community.