New documentary art collection

A small collection of drawings and paintings from turn of the century Vancouver has been recently catalogued at Rare Books and Special Collections. The Albert Lindgren fonds contains 37 small watercolour paintings and 9 drawings, dating from ca. 1900-1903.  The paintings and drawings mostly depict Vancouver-area waterfront views, as Lindgren was a ship captain.

Archives will often collect works of art which document a specific place, culture or time period.  In the era before photography became so commonplace, a sketch or painting may be one of few records of what a place or landmark looked like. For example, the image below is an early depiction of the original Prospect Point Lighthouse in Stanley Park, before the seawall was built.

View of Prospect Point lighthouse

View of Prospect Point lighthouse, ca. 1900

On the other hand, sometimes a lack of contextual information or notes by the creator leave you wondering what it is exactly you’re looking at. For example, the image below: given the content of the rest of the collection, this is very likely a waterfront scene in the Vancouver area. Possibly it’s Coal Harbour- if you think you know, leave a comment or email us at and let us know!

View of waterfront buildings, possibly Coal Harbour

View of waterfront buildings, possibly Coal Harbour, ca. 1900

For a large Canadian documentary art collection, much of which can be viewed online, check out Documentary Art at Library and Archives Canada.

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