Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

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Young People in Art

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Robert Harris
School at Canoe Cove, PEI
About the Artist and the Work  |   Looking at the Art  |   Artistic and Cultural Heritage
image of artwork
Robert Harris, School at Canoe Cove, P.E.I., ca. 1880.
Watercolour on paper. 20.2 x 30.2 cm. Collection of CCAG.


 genre painting

School at Canoe Cove was painted in watercolour on paper around 1880. It shows a group of children within a one-room schoolhouse such as was found throughout Prince Edward Island during the last half of the 19th century and much of the 20th century. The painting is clearly different in mood and formality from Harris' painting of Sir John A. Macdonald. Both the subject matter and the medium - watercolour rather than oil - play a part in creating the lighter mood. The scene is recorded fairly roughly, almost as a watercolour sketch. It is a study or preliminary drawing for an oil painting. The scene appears not to be posed. The image is playful and, in the tradition of genre painting, shows a scene from everyday life - in this case, the varied activities of children at school.