"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Interesting portraits of First Nations men

 My late maternal grandfather, John Caswell Davis, was a multi-talented individual--a successful engineer, an astute political operative (which led to his appointment to the Canadian senate in the late 1940s), and an accomplished artist. Many of my relatives and I have examples of his art, most notably of pastel portraits of First Nations individuals.

We doubt these individuals actually sat for JCD; rather, he was inspired by photographs that he collected. Among those photos are 11 very-good-quality black-and-white photographs from the studio of noted Calgary photographer Harry Pollard, whose collection is now held in the Provincial Archives of Alberta. My research indicates the photos were taken in the early 1900s. My late grandfather likely acquired his prints in the 1930s or 1940s.

I believe the photos have wonderful historical value, and I know that, being original prints from the studio (complete with impressed identification and copyright stamp) they are quite collectable. But I treasure them for the remarkable images of the men. I hope you enjoy them, too. Here are those photos (captions reflect pencil notations on back of photo):

Wolfe Caller     Blackfoot

Weasle Tail   Pegan

Turning Robe

Turning Robe

Turn Up Nose  Blackfoot

Red Leggings

Old Tom   Sarcee

Manny Shot

Calf Robe

Calf Bull

Big Belly   Sarcee Chief