Robert Harris


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(1849–1919), artist. A native of Wales, Harris moved with his family to Prince Edward Island when he was a child. After studying art in Boston, London, and Paris, he took up residence first in Toronto, then Montreal, where he remained after 1885. Harris is best known as a portraitist, having done hundreds of studies, including that of Sir John A. Macdonald. Commissioned in 1883 to portray the Fathers of Confederation at the Quebec Conference, he worked from photographs, interviews with participants, and questionnaires, completing the work in the following year. It received an enthusiastic response from the public but would be destroyed in 1916 when fire swept the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Aside from his portraiture, Harris produced a wide range of art, such as A Meeting of the School Trustees, which illustrated a young female teacher in a confrontation with four stern male trustees.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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