Monday, January 26, 2015

A Few Anniversaries in 2015 - 2/3

Following up on our previous post (here if you missed it), here is the second installment of what is turning out to be a three-parter on anniversaries and commemorations that we can look forward to this year.

Carving Out a Nation - Illustration: Soldat du régiment de Carignan-Salières © Francis Back
Poster of the Château Ramezay's exhibition.
This year marks a couple of important 350ths.  The one which is likely to get the most attention is of the arrival at Québec of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières (1665).  The Commission franco-québécoise sur les lieux de mémoire commun aka. CFQLMC and the Musée du Château Ramezay launched their joint program last November.  This includes an exhibition at the Château Ramezay, and a book by Michel Langlois and Marcel Fournier on the regiment's soldiers.  Through the year, other events will take place in Quebec and France, namely at La Rochelle and Poitiers, most of these with a genealogical bent.  Check out the chock-full programme here.  It will be interesting to see how these events address this history , centred as it was on the colonial will to destroy the Iroquois, in this age of #IdleNoMore.

King Louis XIV sent not only soldiers to New France that year, but also horses.  For there had been none before.  Only twelve horses out of twenty survived that first trip.  Joined by a couple of other contingents, these horses quickly multiplied and gave rise to the hardy Canadian breed that, after near-extinction in the late 19th century has been the subject of much love over the last century.  In 1909 the Canadian Parliament declared it to be the country's national breed; Quebec did the same for the province in 2010. 

The Canadian Horse Heritage and Preservation Society hopes that this year may be remembered as "the year of the Canadian Horse".  The CFQLMC turns out to be the most ethusiastic promoter of the cause, this time in partnership with another Montreal museum, the Maison Saint-Gabriel.  They launched the commemorative year on January 19th, with the unveiling of  a plaque.  Horse and history lovers, at least those who live in and around Montreal, have an abundance of events to look forward to.  The Canadian Mint has also issued a commemorative silver coin, rather poorly composed if you ask me, celebrating the horse.  Coin design isn't what it used to be.

L'arrivée à la ferme de la Maison Saint-Gabriel : de g. à d, Benoit Dorais, maire de l'arrondissement du Sud-Ouest, et Denis Coderre tenant la bride de ce « petit cheval de fer ».
A Canadian Horse and Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal,
at Maison Saint-Gabriel on January 19th.  Photo: CFQLMC.

A few more anniversaries to come in Part III. 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Quelques anniversaires en 2015 (1/2)

Prenons le temps, en ce début d'année, d'énumérer les anniversaires qui seront soulignés en 2015.

En 1615, Champlain remontait la Rivière des Outaouais pour la seconde fois, atteignant enfin le pays des Hurons où il passât un premier hiver.  N'ayant de toute évidence pas réussi à coordonner des célébrations d'ampleur en 2010, à l'occasion du 400e anniversaire du voyage d'Étienne Brûlé en sol proto-ontarien, c'est cette année que l'Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario et le Gouvernement de l'Ontario ont décidé de célébrer le 400e de la présence française en Ontario.  Choix discutable, mais bof.  Les détails de la programmation n'ont pas encore été annoncés, mais elle promet d'être abondante.  Sur le plan plus "savant", l’Institut franco-ontarien de l’Université Laurentienne de Sudbury organise un colloque interdisciplinaire sur le sens et les particularités de la présence française en Ontario ces 26-27 juin.  Le Center for French Colonial Studies alias Centre pour l'Étude du Pays des Illinois tiendra aussi son colloque annuel à Windsor les 23-25 octobre.  Notre ami blogueur, Joseph Gagné, a répertorié les meilleurs sites internet sur la thématique des racines franco-ontarienne.

Cette année marquera aussi le 400e anniversaire de l'arrivée des Récollets en Nouvelle-France et de la célébration par deux des leurs, Denys Jamet et Joseph Le Caron, d'une première messe sur l'île de Montréal, le 24 juin 1615.  Les Franciscains québécois souligneront l'arrivée de ces confrères par une série d'événements à Trois-Rivières, Québec et Montréal.  L'Institut du patrimoine culturel de l'Université Laval, en collaboration avec la Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines, organisera un colloque scientifique multidisciplinaire sur le sujet les 11-13 juin 2015. 

À suivre : dans le prochain billet, le 350e de l'arrivée du Régiment de Carignan-Salières et des premiers chevaux au Canada.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Je suis Charlie

As a modest token of solidarity with the victims of today's sickening violence, we would like to share the work of one of their eighteenth-century forebears.  This anonymous satirist chronicled the deportation of Parisian women of ill repute to Louisiana c.1719-1720, poking a bit of fun at their lovers and at the apothecaries and surgeons who made a brisk business treating their, uhm, social diseases.  On another day we would be inclined to deconstruct the image and its various captions, but today that's not the point.  Long live humour and freedom of expression.

"Le triste embarquement des filles de joye de Paris, et leurs adieux fait
à messieurs les apothicaires et chirurgiens ainsi qu'à leurs amants", vers 1720. 
Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joyeux Noël

Détail d'un parement d'autel du XVIIIe siècle représentant la Nativité. 
95 x 260 cm.  Musée des Ursulines de Québec.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Outina Sells for €160,000

Outina, 58.5 x 42.5 cm, by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues?  Photo: La Dépêche.
An ink and watercolour drawing depicting Outina, the Timucua chief (fl.1564-1565), and attributed to Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (1533-1588) has just sold at auction in Toulouse for a staggering €160,000.  It had been estimated at a more modest but still impressive €50,000/80,000.  Local paper La Dépêche reported before and after the sale; a presale video can also be viewed. 

There is no question as to the correspondence between this figure and the one which appears on Plate XVIII of Theodore de Bry's Grand voyages (1591), accompanying an account of the Jean Ribault and René Goulaine de Laudonnière's ill-fated attempt at colonizing northern Florida in 1564.  This plate is one of 42 engravings, many of which show Timucua-speaking men and women who lived in northern Florida and southern Georgia, made after sketches by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues. Compare for yourselves:

BTW, De Bry explains this scene thus : "The women whose husbands have succumbed in battle or have died from illness have the custom of assembling on a day that seems to them most suitable to appear before their king. They approach him, overcome with grief, sit down on their heels, and covering their faces with their hands, they cry out and moan. They ask the king to avenge their dead husbands, to provide them with means to live during their widowhood and to permit them to remarry after the time laid down by law. The king, taking pity on them, grants their requests. They return home, weeping and wailing, as proof of the love they felt for their husbands. After having spent several days in mourning they carry their husbands' weapons and drinking cups to their tombs, then they start to weep again and celebrate other funereal ceremonies."
Correspondence between the two images notwithstanding, does that mean that the auctioned image is necessarily one of Le Moyne's lost original sketches?  Might it not be a mere copy of Le Moyne's original?  Or a copy done after the engraving?  The fact that the images mirror each other is a tantalizing hint that the watercolour is not merely derived from the engraving, and that it may indeed be the model... or a copy of the model. 

The trouble with the auction business is that it is a business.  Whatever research goes into identifying and documenting a lot is proprietary, and it is seldom made public.  In hyping this particular artwork, the auctioneer and the reporters after him rather conveniently glossed over the possibility that this piece may not be by the hand of the master himself, and they also conveniently occulted the fact that the very nature and authenticity of Le Moyne's work are, in fact, highly disputed by scholars.  Eminences such as  Christian Feest and Jerald Milanich have questioned whether Le Moyne produced drawings of the Timucua at all, given the absence of any definite documentation and the hard-to-explain presence on those images of what look to be Pacific seashells and Brazilian clubs.  At the very least, Le Moyne took liberties with his illustrations, perhaps considerable ones.  Milanich concluded that : "Until someone finds an actual, documented le Moyne drawing or painting of Florida Indians, I am going to assume we have been duped."  I wonder what he and Feest make of this latest find.  Is this the real deal?


Sunday, December 7, 2014

La France vend son consulat à Québec

La Maison Kent.  Photo: Encyclopédie du
Patrimoine culturel de l'Amérique française.

La Maison Kent, célèbre bâtiment du Vieux-Québec acheté en 1980 par la France pour y installer son consulat général, juste à côté du Château Frontenac, vient d'être vendue pour 2,75 millions de dollars, selon les sources du journal La Presse.  

Ben que nommée en l’honneur du prince Edward Auguste, futur duc de Kent et fils du roi George III, qui y a habité entre 1791 et 1794, cette maison remonte à la fin du XVIIe siècle.  Construite par les Chartier de Lotbinière, il s'agit de l'un des plus anciens édifices de la ville.  Il n’était cependant plus adapté à l’accueil du public des services consulaires, qui déménageront dans un immeuble plus fonctionnel.  Le groupe parlementaire France-Québec à l’Assemblée nationale déplore cette cession d’une maison faisant partie du « patrimoine historique du Québec ».


Friday, December 5, 2014

A webcam to get your rocks off

As of late, naughty Francophones and Francophiles typing the keywords "webcam" and "la belle" into their search engine may be disappointed to come across a jolie demoiselle of a rather unexpected sort.  The good folks over at the Bullock Museum, in Austin, have set up a livestream showing the reconstruction of Cavelier de La Salle's ship, La Belle. 

The live build of La Belle is broadcast every Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Outside of these hours, they stream very interesting documentary teasers.  Check it out here.  And don't worry, it is entirely office-appropriate.