British, c. 1711–1787
Richard Moretan, Esq., of Tackley with His Nephew and Niece John and Susanna Weyland
Oil on canvas
A gift of the estate of Florence Cluett Chambers, 2001
"The young girl in the painting is offering fish caught by her brother in a basket made by Cree Indians in northern Canada. During the mid-eighteenth century, thousands of British soldiers went to North America to fight the French in the Seven Years' War. This small detail opens up a story of cross-cultural contact and exchange, and suggests how the British during this period experienced their colonial involvement in a distant land. It also suggests that children were commonly given foreign curios as 'educational toys.' Very similar baskets of the same period in the British Museum were given to a 'Miss Nellie Middleton,' probably the daughter of a naval officer who explored the coast of Hudson's Bay in the 1730s."
Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa, and Clark Fellow, 2003