Sir Donald Alexander Smith was born in Scotland on August 6, 1820. He was one of the Canadian commercial pioneers, railroad builders and investors. He became a Canadian High Commissioner and was raised to the peerage in 1897. He owned a beautiful stone house in Dorchester Street, Montreal in 1883 which was often used in later years by diplomatic bodies. He died on January 21, 1914.
Bibliography of sitter:
Beckles Willson, The Life of Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, 2 Vols., The Riverside
Press, Cambridge, 1915
Donna McDonald, Lord Strathcona: A Biography of Donald Alexander Smith, 1996
The picture was a replica of the portrait which Muller-Ury painted in London in 1898. Muller-Ury retouched this picture in 1943 and completely changed the background, as he did for the portrait of Lina Cavalieri (and other pictures), and which, of course, also became the property of Jessica Dragonette. The head was the same as the 1898 portrait but he must have changed the fur edged scarlet robe in which it had been photographed in 1906 into plain clothes.