No doubt, you think you are familiar with this famous 1884 picture - The Fathers of Confederation hard at work in 1864 at one of the many conferences before writing the final draft of the 1867 constitution. In 1883 Parliament commissioned Robert Harris to paint all the delegates on one canvas to hang in the Centre Block in Ottawa
BUT THERE ARE SOME SURPRISES ABOUT THIS PICTURE.
To start, you have never seen a coloured photo of this painting. That's because it doesn't exist. The original painting burned in a fire in Feb. 1916. All that is left for us now is the black and white photo above taken by James Ashfield in 1885.
Secondly, it actually depicts two 1864 conferences (Charlottetown and Quebec) in one event. Harris has painted 33 delegates and the secretary Hewitt Bernard (upper left) as if they were all in the same room together.
But that's not the end of the surprises. In 1964, Rex Woods was commissioned to paint a replica of the Robert Harris painting for the 100th anniversary of the Confederation Conferences. Adding his own artistic licence he painted in four more figures., including three delegates ( far right) who were at the London Conference in England in 1866, and for a final touch a portrait of the original painter Robert Harris himself, hanging on the far right wall.