Canada Hall

An Officer's Room

S94-37713 The reproduction of a British officer's quarters in the mid-1840s is based on a Cornelius Krieghoff painting believed to represent the quarters of Andrew Aylmer Staunton, an assistant surgeon with the Ordnance Medical Department who was assigned to the Royal Artillery in Montreal from 1845 to 1848. An artist in his own right, Staunton was also a naturalist, sportsman, writer and book lover.

The military records kept by regiments in Canada, along with the personal correspondence, journals, and diaries of British officers, have proven an invaluable resource to historians. These records are complemented by sketches, paintings, and maps produced by officers who were amateur artists.

The painting An Officer's Room in Montréal illustrates the interests and lifestyle of the officer class. On the wall are numerous sketches and water colours, some of them related to Staunton's experiences in the Middle East from 1835 to l836. The room is filled with zoological, botanical and ethnographic specimens, such as mounted birds and animals, and Native artifacts. There is also sports equipment -- skates, a toboggan, snowshoes, fishing and riding gear -- which attests to the officer's enjoyment of outdoor activities.
Krieghoff's painting of A Caravanserai in Mesopotamia was based on a sketch made by Staunton in 1835-36, while on a British military expedition to the Euphrates River.
Painting by Marcel Chabot, 1989, based on Staunton's sketch. The whereabouts of Krieghoff's painting at present is unknown.