Period painting of a large group of people gathered for a dance

Few paintings exist that record entertainments in this country from such an early date. The artist took an interest in costume, local customs, and social context. A windowless interior is lighted by a single, rather smoky oil-wick chandelier. There is a crowd of on-lookers which include pipe-smoking farmers, well-upholstered merchants, a mother and two children, two men of African descent, and assorted dandies. The artist sketched a range of social types: some figures are caricatured while some are portraits; the Redcoats represent British officers. The music is provided by a fiddler and two tambourine players. The style of dress is everyday rather than high fashion, and there are even fancy beaver hats of a kind that some voyageurs favoured.

Artist: E. George Hariot
c. 1801
© 2006, Royal Ontario Museum. All Rights Reserved.

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