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The Honourable Alexander Mackenzie

The Honourable Alexander Mackenzie
Prime Minister
1873-1878

Object name: Painting
Artist: John Wycliffe Lowes Forster
Date: 1897
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 121.5 x 154 cm
Catalogue no.: O-888

This official portrait of Alexander Mackenzie was painted from photographs in 1897, five years after his death. A man of strict integrity who declined several offers of knighthood, Mackenzie is shown wearing a formal yet plain suit. Although the photographs were taken when he was in poor health and exhausted from his years in politics, Mackenzie’s expression is one of “courage that never knew retreat.” The portrait was rescued from the fire that destroyed the original Parliament Building in 1916.

The Artist

Born in Norval, Ontario, John Wycliffe Lowes Forster studied portraiture first in Toronto and then in Paris at the Atelier Julian. He opened a studio upon his return to Toronto and soon became one of Canada’s leading portrait painters.

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