Inuit portrait rescued from obscurity

Historian Marianne P. Stopp came across a previously lost pencil drawing by an unknown artist that shows a group of Labrador Inuit brought to England in 1772 by Captain George Cartwright.

Written by Phil Koch

November 29, 2012

Book cover for The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright published in 2008.

Parks Canada historian Marianne P. Stopp came across a previously lost pencil drawing by an unknown artist that shows a group of Labrador Inuit brought to England in 1772 by Captain George Cartwright. You can see the drawing in the December 2012-January 2013 issue of Canada’s History magazine.

Stopp had read about the portrait, but its existence was unconfirmed and its whereabouts had been unknown for two centuries. Then, in 2008, she came across the drawing in the newly digitized collection of the Hunterian Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons in London, where she was conducting research into early Inuit presence in Labrador.

Stopp believes the portrait wound up in the museum’s collection via the anatomist and surgeon John Hunter, who hosted the Inuit travellers. You can read more about Stopp’s work on the Labrador Inuit’s eighteenth-century journeys to England in her 2009 article for the journal Arctic.

You may also be interested by the 2008 book The New Labrador Papers of Captain George Cartwright, which was edited by Stopp.

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