Image courtesy of Wolfville Historical Society | Licence: All Rights Reserved
Image courtesy of Wolfville Historical Society | Licence: All Rights Reserved

Cape Blomidon / From Wolfville

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From the Collection


Cape Blomidon overlooks the Bay of Fundy on the Annapolis Valley side of Nova Scotia. The cliff is part of a basalt ridge stretching down to Brier Island that was created by ancient volcanic eruptions. Born in 1861, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia Annie Prat was one of the three talented artist Prat sisters along with Minnie and May. Annie’s family was descended from Samuel Prat, Dean of Rochester Cathedral. Her grandfather, Samuel died at the age of fifty-two after going bankrupt following his investment in the Glastonbury canal system. His widow, Elizabeth, immigrated to Paradise, Nova Scotia with her four sons. Her son Samuel moved to Wolfville where he became the first station master for the Annapolis and Windsor Railway. Samuel married Elizabeth from Paradise whose brother, John Morse, was the founder of Morse’s Tea. Elizabeth’s father, Samuel, was the first cousin of Samuel Morse the inventor of the telegraph. From 1877 to 1879, Annie lived in Halifax with her maternal uncle and grandfather where she attended Morris Street School. By this time, Annie was garnering a reputation as a local artist; she was awarded an honourable mention for a watercolour at the 1879 Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition. In 1896, Annie moved to Chicago where she attended the School of Art Institute for one year; there she studied figure painting and still life. She also studied miniature painting privately with Cecile Payen. Annie’s decision to move to Chicago likely was influenced by the presence of relatives in Chicago: her mother’s cousin Rose and her husband Charles Knickerbocker. Around this time, Annie’s sisters Minnie and May were establishing their own successful artistic careers in New York State running a bookbindery. Annie spent much time assisting her sisters at the bindery while she painted and taught art on the side. She was able to make a modest living from the sale of her miniature portraits. On September 4, 1901, Minnie died from typhoid fever in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Annie remained in New York helping May at the bindery. In the autumn of 1903, May closed the bindery to move back to Wolfville and marry Richard Starr. Annie too returned to Nova Scotia where she became the first Dean of Women at the University of King’s College in Windsor from 1917 to 1920. In 1926, an accident resulted in the loss of vision in one eye thus ending her miniature painting career. Annie died in 1960, one month shy of her ninetieth birthday.

In the lower left corner: Cape Blomidon / From Wolfville . In the lower right corner: Annie L. Prat / July 24, 1894
Medium: Paper; pen, ink and watercolour

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Image courtesy of Wolfville Historical Society

From the Watercolour World


Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, Canada