(Galt, Ontario, 1864 – London, England, 1915)
L’Assemblée des six comtés à Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, en 1837
[The Assembly of the Six Counties at Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, in 1837]
Oil on canvas
300 x 690 cm
Purchase about 1930, transfer from the Legislative Assembly 1937
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec collection, 1937.54
Photo: MNBAQ, Jean-Guy Kérouac
The immense L’Assemblée des six comtés à Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, en 1837 [The Assembly of the Six Counties at Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu, in 1837] depicts a historic scene with a revolutionary subject. The event was a demonstration attended on October 23 and 24 by 6,000 Patriote Party supporters protesting British colonial rule, specifically the Russell Resolutions. The Assembly of Six Counties was the peak point of the popular unrest that led to the Patriote Rebellion of 1837. This work exemplifies the nationalistic painting being produced in that period.
The Ontario painter Charles Alexander, né Smith, studied in Paris from 1884 to 1891. Trained under Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902), he exhibited in several official Parisian salons and won a medal of honour at the 1889 Universal Exposition. In 1891, L’Assemblée des six comtés was shown at the Salon de la Société des artistes français. The Quebec Premier Honoré Mercier (1840-1894) saw it there and wanted to buy it as a gift for the Quebec Legislature. This plan was thwarted by a political shake-up, but the work was eventually purchased by the provincial government and installed in the Legislative Assembly building in the early 1900s.