View in Bute Inlet

watercolour on paper, 16.2 x 27.6 cm
Edward Parker Bedwell

This small painting by Edward Parker Bedwell, depicting HMS Hecate and its sailors along with First Nations people in a canoe, is an important rendering by an accomplished naval artist.

Staff-Commander Bedwell (1834-1919) joined the Royal Navy in 1848, fought in the Crimean War under one of Lord Nelson’s captains, and from 1856 to 1863 participated in maritime surveys of Vancouver Island and adjacent coasts. He was an enthusiastic amateur watercolourist, and his sketches formed the basis of reproductions in R.C. Mayne’s Four years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island (London: John Murray, 1862) and the Illustrated London News.

Bute Inlet, a classic 80k-long fjord, has figured prominently in the human history of BC. Entrepreneur Alfred Waddington’s scheme to build a road to the Cariboo gold fields via Bute Inlet instigated what has been known as the Chilcotin War of 1864, or Bute Inlet Massacre.

This painting was purchased by Provincial Archivist Willard Ireland in 1950, with several other Bedwell pictures.

This object selected by Don Bourdon. View Profile »