Thursday, July 25, 2019

Braunschweig model canoe (c1775-1780)

Found another miniature canoe model dating to the late 18th century in the collection of the Municipal Museum of Braunschweig. Apparently, it was featured in a recent exhibition  entitled "Wide Look: Municipal Museum of Braunschweig and the Cultures of the World"

A few of these model canoes have been mentioned earlier on this site. The 1760 Chartres Canoe, the 1760 Farquharson model, the 1794 Rennes canoe and the Mashantucket Pequot model canoe. These canoes were constructed as souvenir reflections of native life in America and produced as a unique collaboration between native groups and French Canadian nuns living in the St. Lawrence River Valley. 

Often purchased for wealthy patrons in Europe, most were collected by British soldiers. The Braunschweig model traces it origins to German mercenary officers serving with the British during the American Revolutionary period. 

The Braunschweig (Brunswick) regiments  arrived in Canada during the summer and fall of 1776 and took up quarters near Trois-Rivières, a major full-sized canoe building center and home to an Ursuline monastery where these model canoes were being fabricated. The regiments all came from lands ruled by Duke Herzog Anton Ulrich of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1714 - 1774), a famed collector of curiosities in his lifetime. Tourist souvenirs were obtained to enrich the Braunschweig and other private cabinets during this opportunity. The cabinet collection of Duke Herzog Anton Ulrich was ultimately transferred to a municipal museum (Städtisches Museum, Braunschweig) in 1899 where records reveal that this birchbark canoe  entered the archives.  

The paddles are decorated in a variety of basic styles. One is fully painted red, not unlike the artwork by James Peachey created roughly in the same time frame. Another contains diagonal stripes very much the paddles from Chartres, and the final paddle features a series of dots that match the decoration on the canoe. With a new paddle making season approaching, I might attempt a full sized replica of one of these Braunschweig paddles, much like the full sized Neuchatel replica made last year

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