Frances Ann Beechey Hopkins
Canadian (born in England), 1838–1919
Voyageurs Resting at the Portage, c. 1875
watercolour, gouache, graphite on paper
35.2 x 51.1 cm Image: 32.9 x 48 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from Dr. and Mrs. Robert Ross and Dr. and Mrs. B.B. Fast and with funds from The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc. in honour of the appointment of Dr. Virginia G. Berry, C.M. as a Fellow of The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
Frances Ann Beechey Hopkins lived in Montreal from 1858 into the 1870s. Her husband, Edward Hopkins, was Chief Factor for the Hudson’s Bay Company, which employed countless voyageurs to canoe and portage into uncharted territories of the Canadian frontier in search of beaver pelts for European and eastern North American markets. Hopkins travelled westward with fur traders and used her sketches as material for paintings that she would complete later in her life. She was one of the few women to experience, let alone to document, these journeys. This painting captures the paddlers in a state of utter exhaustion, and at the same time it records, in great detail, their natural surroundings and painted birch bark canoes.