Teachers Lesson Plans

Lord Dalhousie and the Arts

This lesson plan introduces some of the early topographical landscapes of Canada that were produced by the British military officers who gathered around Lord Dalhousie at the beginning of the nineteenth century. All of the works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.



Lord Dalhousie and the Arts


George Ramsay, Ninth Earl of Dalhousie was Governor in Chief of British North America from 1820 to 1828. During his years in Canada, Dalhousie showed a great interest in the political, cultural and economic life of this country. He collected works of art and gathered around him a circle of artists, most of who were stationed in the military garrisons.

This lesson plan emphasizes Dalhousie's important role as the first protector of the arts in Canada. It features some of the watercolour drawings and prints that were produced by the artist/officers that accompanied him on routine militia inspections. The other works were produced during the officer's personal travels outside the cities to visit the countryside for the simple pleasure of enjoying a picturesque landscape. The silver work is an example of the sustained encouragement of artists that marked Dalhousie's tenure in North America.


The works of art that are featured in this lesson plan record a particular moment in the early history of this country. The selected works emphasize Dalhousie's importance on the development of art in Canada.