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The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald

The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald
Prime Minister
1867-1873; 1878-1891

Object name: Painting
Artist: Henry Sandham
Date: 1889
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 118.7 x 152.4 cm
Catalogue no.: O-795

Unveiled in 1890 in the original Parliament Building on the occasion of Sir John Alexander Macdonald’s 75th birthday, this official portrait depicts Canada’s first Prime Minister as a confident, relaxed and dignified elder statesman. He is shown dressed in the uniform of the Imperial Privy Council with the regalia of the Order of the Bath. A consummate politician, he is best remembered for his instrumental role in the creation of Confederation.

The Artist

Henry Sandham, a native of Montreal, acquired his early artistic training at the Notman Photographic Studio, where he rose to head the art department. He was a talented and versatile artist recognized for his portraits, landscapes and historical paintings, as well as for his illustrations of books and periodicals.

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