Riel, Louis David (1844-1885); Hall and Lowe, Photographers; [Noverre, J.H.]. Exceedingly Rare Carte de visite of Louis Riel, sole Indigenous Father of Confederation, and Founder of the Province of Manitoba ; by the Winnipeg-based Photographers, Hall & Lowe, after a portrait by J.H. Noverre. Montréal, Quebec & Winnipeg, Manitoba: Hall and Lowe, Photographers, N.D. [Circa 1870-1873]. Albumen studio portrait of Louis Riel, measuring 8 cm x 6 cm, mounted on stiff boards, measuring 10 cm x 6.5 cm, captioned: “Louis Riel; Compliments of S. Davis & Sons, Montreal; Largest Cigar Manufacturers in the Dominion.” Verso lists “Leading Brands” of tobacco, printed in bright blue ink. Lower-left margin of photograph prominently bears the mark of Hall & Lowe, venerable Winnipeg-based photographers who established a name for themselves on account of their “Indian photos (taken from life), Xmas cards, views of Winnipeg”, [Source: The Manitoba Historical Society]. Our present offering was most likely after a photograph by Montréal-based photographer, J.H. Noverre, taken in the early 1870’s; a period of great uncertainty and tumult for the Métis and Riel, personally. Indeed, it witnessed the election of Riel as President of a Provisional Métis government, the accession of the Province of Manitoba into Confederation (referred to then as the Red River Settlement), the execution of Thomas Scott, a vehement Orangeman, on the orders of a Métis court-martial, Riel’s election to the House of Commons, and subsequent escape to New York. Remarkably well-preserved; near fine.
We note only but two institutional holdings of similar photographs of Riel. The first being housed at the Manitoba Provincial Archives, (see “Louis Riel 1, N5730”), which dates the photograph to 1876; this is most likely incorrect as Riel would partly have been living in the United States at this time, on account of his forced exile, and confronting a myriad of mental health challenges, which saw him admitted to an asylum near Montréal for nearly two years. The second, being a near-identical variant housed at Library and Archives Canada (see Reference No. 4868456), though, in markedly poorer condition. Library and Archives Canada’s holding notably does not bear the distinctive mark of the studios of Hall and Lowe. (#4460) $2,495.00