Siege of Quebec
Antique Prints

Since 1763 the name 'Russborough' has been synonymous with collecting and dealing in fine art. In the closing decades of the last century the historic town of Port Hope has become home to Lord Russborough's Annex, which specialises in an individual mix of antique maps, paintings and prints.

While Lord Russborough's Annex features a great many works of museum calibre, we also offer a wonderful selection of prints priced at under $100.

An extract of our prints currently available:

Siege of Quebec
Death of the Great Wolf

 

 

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Siege of Quebec

A MANUSCRIPT OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE TO CANADA
Plotting of the French positions.

MACKELLAR- Quebec City

'A Description of the Town of Quebeck in Canada, accompany'd with a plan'

Thirteen pages folio on Anglo-Dutch watermarked Van Gerrevink laid paper, written in ink in a copper-plate scribal hand, signed with the initials "P.M.", dated September 1756, with a postscript similarly initialed and dated 23 December 1757.

Together with: (in another Hand) 'PLAN of the TOWN of QUEBECK enlarged from the Plan published in Charlesvoix by Bellin, with Additions.'

Ink and colour body washes, manuscript map with keyed references below relating to the map and report.

Scale: 400 ft. to an inch. Within a ruled border. Good condition.
Mounted within a triple matt (two of museum quality), glazed, giltwood frame.

Size: 16 X 14" (40.6 X 35.6 cm.) Frame: 29 1/2 X 26 1/4" (75 X 66.7 cm.)

Price Code L: Click Here for Pricing Details

History

In the spring of 1756 Patrick MacKellar was appointed chief engineer of the British forts of Ontario and Oswego.

During August he was engaged in repairing and strengthening the frontier forts (formally Pepperell or Chouagen) on the Oswego River, when, on the night of the 10th. they were surprised and attacked by a French force of 3,000 men.

In spite of a heroic defence, the forts eventually surrendered during the afternoon of August 14. Sixteen hundred prisoners, including MacKellar and 79 other officers, were captured. MacKellar was taken to Quebec City as a prisoner of war where he was kept in fairly close restraint. He was able, however to make detailed notes on the city's defences, until some time in September when he was transferred to Montreal. In December of 1757, following a meeting with his fellow prisoner-of-war, Moss, it would appear that MacKellar had time to draw upon his notes in order to compile the above report and arrange the production of the map.

On a salary of a pound a day, the now Major and Chief Engineer, MacKellar accompanied General James General Wolfe, Supreme Commander of the British Land Forces in America, to attack Quebec.

In May 1759 the army of 8,535 men assembled at Louisbourg, renamed Pittburg in honour of the Prime Minister, (the fortress of Louisbourg, having been reduced by Amherst the previous year, during which siege MacKellar distinguished himself.)

During the siege of Quebec the intelligence contained in this report proved to be invaluable.

Despite being wounded in the attack from Montmorency, MacKellar scaled the heights of Abraham with Wolfe, and took over the command from Wolfe when he fell. Quebec capitulated on September 17.

Upon occupation by the British, Mackellar strengthened the defences, thus enabling it to withstand the 1760 French attempt to retake the city. Although MacKellar was severely wounded during the attack at Sillery, he later took part in the capture of Montreal and other engagements, thus completing the fall of France in Canada.

Mackellar also contributed much to the survey and defences of Halifax, and various engagements in the West Indies during the expulsion of the French, eventually being promoted Colonel and Director of engineers on Minorca.

THE REPORT AND MAP

This very legible 13 page folio report bearing MacKellar's initials was considered of the utmost importance by his commanding officer General James Wolfe and, SHOULD NOW BE CONSIDERED AS A DOCUMENT OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE TO THE PEOPLE OF CANADA. Using the intelligence contained therein, Wolfe landed his men at Quebec and scaled the heights of Abraham.

BACKGROUND OF THE MAP: it is known that more than one manuscript copy was made at the time ( as would be expected as the report was under discussion by Wolfe's General Staff and the Board of Ordnance). Although differing from the copies held in the Public Archives of Canada (P.A.C.), the significant intelligence amendments contained in our accompanying report were not transferred to the reconnaissance map.

THE REPORT & MAP (of which we know of four contemporary copies; P.A.C. & B.M.) is compiled from MacKellar's notes, is written in a similar hand, which in view of MacKellar's rank, was probably scribal, but is remarkably akin to known examples of MacKellar's handwriting held in the Public Archives of Canada.

Our copy has a lengthy and highly significant postscript not included in the other copies.

The report is dated September 1756. It contains information drawn from Mackellar's experiences whilst a prisoner-of-war in Quebec, from August 1756 and prior to his transfer to Montreal and eventual release in the exchange of prisoners in the spring of the following year, and bears the initials "PM"

THE POSTSCRIPT (dated and initialed 23 December 1757) details six extra points containing important new intelligence.

The contents cover significant modifications and reinforcements to the town's defences subsequent to MacKellar's departure which updates the information in the main body of the report, and includes additional topographical information, modifications to the fortifications and a substantial increase in the number of opposing troops, the postscript is clearly dated 23 December 1757.

This important intelligence is not contained in any other copy of the report of which we are aware, and follows on from the main body of the report (dated and initialed September 1756).

In all, both the map and the following extracts from the report hint at an illuminating account of:

The Topography of the town and Heights of Abraham:

"The greatest heights of the cliffs is a little above and below the redoubt of Cape Diamond, where it must be at least 200 feet high, it falls from thence in several easy breaks..."

"The Low Town on the east side is a fair object for both shot and shells from shipping, the buildings are in general high and pretty close."

The Means of Communication Between the Two Parts of the Town:

"There is a break in the cliff westward of the 8 gun battery marked '4' where four or five people may pass abreast, it is pretty steep and may be easily secured."

Its Land and River Defences:

"Battery '4' consists of 57 guns but to the anchoring ground points only 36."

"...To the hangman's redoubt 'W' is a small wall of masonry three or four feet thick and seems to have been designed only against small arms..."

"I am persuaded from all the circumstances I could learn that the place must be weak towards the land and the difficulty they made of our seeing it seems to confirm it..."

Suggested Plan of Attack:

"...In the passage down the river we met only with two difficulties worth mentioning and they were observed by Charlesvoix and in the chart lately published by Mr. Jefferys."

Secret Weapons of the French:

"...An invention the French had discovered for infallibly destroying ships going up the river."

Landing of the Troops:

"...It will be an advantage to land the troops on the townside of the River which is the North but I am very doubtful whether their landing within proper distance of the place can be cover'd by the shipping..."

"...For these reasons I should think it most advisable to land upon the island itself and make it a rendezvous..."

 

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Death of the Great Wolf

James Gillray
Published, H. Humphrey, London 1795 [1808]

A splendid caricature of the celebrated painting The Death of Wolfe by Benjamin West.

Having vanquished a handful of half naked Jacobeans and captured a ragged banner of 'Libertas' , a stricken Pitt is attended by Dundas, in a kilt, who offers him a farewell drink instead of assistance and by Burke who ponders the prospect of a pension of '£ 3700 pr. An.' (BM. commentary 8704).

Beneath the title is the caption: "We have overcome all opposition! I'm satisfied," said the dying hero, and expired in the moment of victory. To Benjn. West Esqr. President of the Royal Academy, this attempt to emulate the beauties of his uneaqual'd picture, of the death of Genl. Wolfe," is most respectfully submitted by the author.

This is a masterly lampoon of the treason & sedition bills then before parliament in the style that made Gillray famous and every bit as collectable today as he was in his own era.

Hand coloured etching.
Click for more information on the printing technique.

13 X 171/8" (33 X 43.4 cm.)
Ref.LRA 1416/RRD/goo SGL
PRICE CODE D: Click Here for Pricing Details

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