Portraits of Places: Watercolours by Frederick B. Nichols
January 19 - March 31, 2013
Curators: Laurie Hamilton and Dale Sheppard
Portraits of Places presents 11 exquisite watercolours by Frederick B. Nichols. Trained as a mining engineer and an engraver in the United States, Frederick Nichols moved to Nova Scotia in the mid-1860s where he assumed duties as Professor of Geology and Chemistry. With expertise and interest in both science and art, he was well positioned to document the gold rush in Nova Scotia as new mining sites opened throughout the province. The watercolours depict such local landsmarks as George’s Island, Bedford Basin, Ferguson’s Cove, and other picturesque views that piqued the artist’s interest during his travels.
Though described as an amateur artist, Nichols’s watercolours reveal an adept draughtsman and an artist in full control of his medium. Following in the footsteps of British army topographers who documented the new land, Nichols’s watercolours highlight the rocky terrain, the mixed forests of coniferous and deciduous trees and the ever-changing skies that accompany a land in close proximity to the North Atlantic.
Nine of the watercolours in this exhibition are part of a collection of 15 artworks by Nichols generously donated to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia by Frank Sobey with the two additional works on loan from the Nova Scotia Museum.