STRATHCONA & MOUNT ROYAL, Lord (Sir Donald Smith)(1906/1943)

Bust-length portrait. Oil on canvas, 30” x 25”.

Hudson’s Bay Company, Canada.

The artist (painted for himself according to the New York Herald, December 8, 1906); Jessica Dragonette; sold through V. Donné and John J. Cunningham, 111, East 65th Street, New York (February 5, 1970) to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

M. KNOEDLER & CO, 355, Fifth Avenue (corner of 34th Street), New York, December 3 – 16, 1906, No. 8.

New York Herald, December 5, 1906
New York Herald, December 8, 1906
Town & Country, New York, December 15, 1906

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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

This photograph from c. 1906 show Strathcona in peers robes. It is highly probable that this was the portrait he painted for himself as it was the only one photographed for him and must have remained in his studio till he died, though he altered it in the 1940s.

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.