Entrance to the Harbor

Oil on canvas, 40.6 x 66 cm
Grafton Tyler Brown (American, 1841–1918)

In 1882, Grafton Tyler Brown arrived in British Columbia a lithographer. Just two years later, he left a painter “of more than local celebrity in California and elsewhere,” and certainly of more than local celebrity in Victoria.

Upon his arrival in BC, Brown travelled with the Canadian Geographical Survey as a draughtsman. By 1883, he had set up a studio in Victoria and begun to paint.

With the exhibition of this seascape, Entrance to the Harbor, and 21 other paintings, Brown established himself as a landscape painter of the West, self-taught in the tradition of the Hudson River School.

From a rocky Esquimalt shore, the view looks toward James Bay and across the sea to the Olympic Mountains. Of particular delight glimmers an already-busy harbour; a sailboat and steamer appear as possible mirages or examples of Brown testing his skills.

The BC Archives holds the largest public collection of Brown’s paintings.