Extreme Impressionism by 
John Bradford Maccallum 

Available to Purchase 
The Train
14 ft x 9 ft 
Available to Purchase 
The Fathers of Confederation 1864
Available to Purchase 
The Fathers of Confederation 

Painting the Fathers of Confederation

It was a cold and freezing night in Ottawa on Feb. 3 rd 1916 the night Parliament Hill burned to the ground
taking with it one of Canada’s prize possessions,the Fathers of Confederation, a large painting 8 ½ x 13ft. by Robert Harris was gone forever. So it remained that way until the fall of 1997 when I was in the Harris Gallery and Museum in Charlottetown PE studying the works of Harris and other Masters of the brush, this is when I found out about the loss of the Harris Masterpiece and decided right there and then I would try and reproduce this painting to the best of my ability and to its actual size and composition.

I thought a lot about Robert Harris at that time and what a blow it must have been for him. I think he was 70 years old when he got the news his great gift to Canada was no more. They asked if he could repaint it but his health was deteriorating and he declined. A sad day in hell no doubt for Mister Harris.

So back to my monumental task I decided to take on. I talked with the Confederation Centre Art Gallery curator Terry Graff and he liked the idea and took it upon himself to help me with the mammoth project. So at 44, off to the races I went with no prior experience in anything like this,but totally confident I could pull it off.

In the fall of 1997 I embarked on this ambitious project to recreate the Harris Masterpiece. My biggest piece of evidence in recreating this work was a small 3 x5”photo taken in 1885 of the Fathers and it was pretty fuzzy. Oh well it gave me the original composition. From there I studied Harris technique and style by copying some of his work in the gallery. Then it was into research to find what he properly used in art material of the day, and most important the actual size witch I found in one of his sketch pads.‘Just a little
note saying 8 ½ x 13 ft. but not what it was for’ Then I measured the composition out and it had to be for the Fathers. Bingo! Now to get the canvas and stretcher made and start painting.

After many months working in front of the public, the Project was coming together. The large easel holding my fathers was parked in this enormous room in the Confederation Gallery surrounded by all my sketches and brushes paint etc. Looking back now it was quite a undertaking for a unknown artist, but I pulled it off and actually did three more after the Fathers of Confederation.One thing that has separated me from other artist that have done large historical works like this is in the past, is the fact that it was my idea, my
money, my time , they were not commissioned by the government or any corporation. I have now come to think this makes these works a true testimony to the true spirit of Canada ‘strong and free’ when a nobody (me) can walk into a Canadian institution of Art and end up contributing to the Canadian Nation a piece of history that was lost many many years ago.

Yours Truly, John Bradford MacCallum

Painting Fathers of Confederation