The Landscape of Ernest Lamarque

Artist, Surveyor and Renaissance Man, 1879-1970

Jay Sherwood

At the age of sixteen, Ernest Lamarque travelled from England to North America, to begin a life as a Victorian adventurer. Born in 1879 and orphaned at age twelve, he would go on to become an artist, a writer and a surveyor, creating some of the earliest visual records of the people of remote regions of Canada.

At seventeen, Lamarque started working as a clerk at Hudson’s Bay Company posts in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. He recorded his adventures through paintings, sketches and photographs, which would later become invaluable historical resources–the artwork and photography he created during his three years at the Ile-a-la-Crosse district, for example, are among the earliest visual records of the Metis of the area. As one of British Columbia’s best-known surveyors, he located a route across northern BC during the Bedaux Expedition. He also travelled along and photographed the historic First Nations Davie Trail as part of his work on the location of the initial Alaska Highway. In 1914, Lamarque participated in the important D.A. Thomas coal transportation survey in northern Alberta that was halted by the start of World War I.

The Landscape of Ernest Lamarque reveals remote regions of western Canada and its people and places through the eyes of a self-taught man. Utilizing unpublished artwork, photographs and written accounts, author Jay Sherwood tells the story of Lamarque’s varied, unusual and interesting life.