Following on from the post about the Salish mausoleum, here is a companion painting by Edward Mallott Richardson from the same year, depicting the interior of a house. It’s a curious painting, seemingly devoid of close detail. Where are all the drying fish?! But at the same time it shows some features of interest which may be worth discussing. Note the fellow with the gun has a powderhorn, for example, and the basket behind him looks like one of those rectangular coiled ones, only with a tumpline, as shown by the woman entering on the left. On the far right is a semi-conical object that might be a hat, sitting on a platform within a small compartment.
The house is clearly divided into at least two partitions, with a few people looking out from the distant subdivision. In the foreground, a woman is making a mat, apparently out of tule (cattail reeds) – compare to this historic photograph, or this one, or these Makah examples, and a nice picture of Snuneymux women gathering reeds. You can see the length of the mat needle she is using quite nicely. I don’t know what the paired long rods are to the left of the house but I wonder if it is a frame for a dipnet, like this fantastic example? I think the squared off timbers are also interesting, and something I generally associate more with the Columbia River — the Meier House had these, I think – at least down the middle. It could be that sawn lumber was becoming available, of course, by 1864.
It is also nice to see the group of three children huddled together probably having a hilarious giggle. And intriguing to see how the walls – which would have been removable from the frame – do not meet up with the roof. I suppose the divided partition and the wall on the right would limit drafts, or perhaps seasonally people didn’t care too much.
It’s an interesting point in time, with a mixture of trade goods and traditional manufacturing side by side.
Anyway, who was this Richardson fellow? There’s a short biography of him here, which gives clues to his NW Coast activities: after arriving in Victoria in 1862 and securing some small commissions, and subsequently travelling along the Harrison-Lilloet trail, then
He is last heard of in the spring of 1865 when the newspapers reported that on 6 May he would hold a raffle of his paintings, which were said to be “valuable, and executed with a rare fidelity to nature and finished off with much care and artistic taste.”
Maybe the raffle winners ended up donating their prizes! At the Provincial Archives, there are at least two paintings by him, one of William’s Lake, and another of Victoria Harbour, with rather poor reproductions on this page (hi RBCM, this is a research use….). However, I found a different online document here (PDF), from which I took the illustration below – this is actually an informal catalogue of the Winkworth collection, which includes those items in the National Archives such as the mausoleum and the interior views. I also note in that document it claims the Salish Mausoleum is in the Fraser Valley. Anyway, the view of Victoria is charming, apparently showing Laurel Point (and those McMurtrie gravehouses?) in the foreground, though I understand there has been an awful lot of landfill in that part of town.
And, while we have the Digging for Gold pamphlet open (which has a lot of fun images in it), see the view below from 1860 of the Songhees Village in Victoria Harbour — this is approximately where the Delta Point Hotel is now I suppose, or the area just in Vic West as you cross from the Blue Bridge. Interesting the defensive sites in that area don’t really show. You can try aligning it all with the historic maps and dioramas here, or even these 1859 (!) photos of Victoria and Esquimalt – if the links still work. Well, probably we could spend a whole post picking this painting apart as well, but at some point this blog has to get back to archaeology, eh?