Collection Learn AGNS
British Vessels at Anchor


Attributed to Samuel Scott
London, England, c. 1702 – 1772, Bath, England
British Vessels at Anchor in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, with a Vice-admiral of the Red Firing a Salute, c. 1751Oil on canvas
56.0 x 114.5 cm
Purchased with funds provided by AGNS Honorary Governor Farhad Vladi and
by Guenter Thiel, and with the assistance of a Movable Cultural Property grant
accorded by the Department of Canadian Heritage under the terms of
the Cultural Property Export and Import Act        

With over 400 years of history, Annapolis Royal, together with Port Royal on the opposite shore of the Annapolis River, is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in Canada. It was here on Acadian farm fields that Sir William Alexander’s expedition established Charles Fort in 1629, and it was here in 1636 that Charles d’Aulnay laid out the streets now comprising the Lower Town which features so prominently in this work.

The Samuel Scott painting is based on the 1751 view of the town, fort, and harbour drawn by the military engineer John Henry Bastide (c.1700 - c.1770) who had been given the charge of rebuilding Fort Anne in 1740. His ink drawing is held in the King George III Topographical Collection at the British Library.

The focusing of public attention on Nova Scotia occasioned by the capture of Louisbourg in 1745, its return to French control in 1748, and the founding of Halifax in 1749, no doubt lay behind Samuel Scott’s commission to produce a painting from the Bastide drawing - a painting which offers us a rare glimpse of the town that served as the capital of Nova Scotia during the early 18th century.


Shannon Parker
Curator of Collections
Tel 902 424 8457
Fax 902 424 0750