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  • Quebec

1901-1903 Québec City

  • 1901 – On the recommendation of a old friend from Hartford, Dawson-Watson decided to leave England for Québec, Canada. In May of 1901, he and his family sailed from Liverpool, England on the SS Corinthian 2, Allan Line, arriving in Montreal on June 9th. The Dawson-Watsons spent the next three years in the Québec City area.


 Chateau Frontenac Quebec pixel sized

Photograph of Le Château Frontenac, Québec City
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


During the harsh Québec winters, it was necessary for Dawson-Watson to do his painting indoors. Traveling by ferry from Québec City to Pointe-Lévy, located on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence River, he would take photographs from the deck and then duck back into the main cabin to make color notations. These visual aids would guide him in the paintings he created back in his studio.

Held annually for two weeks in Québec City, the Québec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Québec) is one of the world’s most famous festivals. The first one was held in the winter of 1894.  Thereafter, it was held intermittently until 1955, when it became an annual event. During his years in Québec, Dawson-Watson produced a number of prints in which he depicted some of the most popular activities associated with the Carnaval and habitant life.


Across the Ice Canoe Race lithograph print by Dawson-Watson Qubec 1902 pixel sized

Dawson Dawson-Watson, Across the Ice, Canoe Race., 1902, lithograph, 15 x 40 in. (37.5 x 100.3 cm)
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)



Dawson Dawson-Watson, Crossing the St. Lawrence River in Winter by Canoe, as reproduced in G.M. Fairchild, Jr. From My Quebec Scrap-Book (Quebec: Frank Carrel, 1907), p. [162].


Quebec Ice Canoe Races family photo      Quebec Winter Sports Ice Canoe Races phptp by DW Famliy
La course en canot, du Carnaval de Québec, 2007
(Dawson-Watson family photos)


Quebec Snowshoers post card by Dawson-Watson pixel sized

Postcard illustrated with Dawson-Watson’s A start for home. (ca. 1901-03), which features Québec snowshoers.
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


Quebec Snowshoer final pixel sized

Dawson Dawson-Watson, Quebec Winter Sports, 1901, lithograph poster, 37 x 24 in. (94 x 61 cm)
(Private Collection)


After a run. lithograph print by Dawson-Watson Quebec 1902 pixel sized

Dawson Dawson-Watson, After a Run., 1902, lithograph, 14 x 39 in. (35.5 x 99.1 cm)
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


Dawson Dawson-Watson on Quebec Province Wilderness Hike pixel sized

Dawson-Watson (far left) and friends on a Québec wilderness hike.
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


Dawson Dawson-Watson in Quebec Province Wilderness pixel sized

Dawson-Watson (third from left) and friends.
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


French Guide Preparing Meal pixel sized v2

French-Canadian guide preparing a meal.
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


Montmorency Falls Quebec Post Card by Dawson-Watson pixel sized

Postcard featuring a view of Montmorency Falls by Dawson-Watson, ca. 1901-03.
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


Montmorency Falls Quebec family photo pixel sized

Montmorency Falls, Québec, 2007.
(Dawson-Watson family photo)


Our Cottage Lake Joseph Quebec sketch by Dawson-Watson v2 pixel sized

Dawson Dawson-Watson, Our Cottage/Lake St. Joseph, Quebec, 1902, pencil on paper, 7 x 9 3/4 in. (17.78 x 24.77 cm)
(Dawson Dawson-Watson family archives)


  • ca. 1902-03 – During this time, (Lovell) Birge Harrison (1854-1929), an American painter who specialized in tonalist landscapes, arrived in Québec. The two men, whose studios were next to each other’s, became good friends. One particular morning, Birge shared a most amusing anecdote with Dawson-Watson about a painting he had listed for sale in a catalogue.

Towards the end of Dawson-Watson’s third year in Québec, Harrison told him about a summer art colony that was being established in Woodstock, a small village in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The school was the Byrdcliffe Art Colony.

  • 1903 – On May 13, 1903, the Montreal auction house, A. J. Maxham & Co., held a sale of Dawson-Watson’s work at the Château Frontenac.


Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, (online database), accessed August 14, 2014.

Fairchild, G.M., Jr., From My Quebec Scrap-Book, (Quebec: Frank Carrel, 1907).

Dawson Dawson-Watson, “Things Remembered,” manuscript memoir, Dawson-Watson family archives.

  2014  /  Chronology