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The earliest known printed depiction of a Canadian subject is Giovanni Ramusio's Hochelaga print of 1556, an imaginary depiction of Jacques Cartier's meeting with the aboriginal community of Hochelaga (now Montreal). Subsequently many prints related to Canada were published as a result of voyages of discovery as well as efforts at colonization. The Archives also began to acquire printed portraits of politicians, royalty, and colonial officials from the 16th century onwards (although portraits are not included in this collection), and to seek out and acquire prints related to events, activities, and places, most notably views of Quebec, New France, and the Canadian North. After the Seven Years' War, a huge number of printed views of Canada began to be published in Britain, and reissued in other European countries, while further exploratory voyages to the Pacific Northwest and to the Canadian Arctic generated many more printed views, although most print editions up to 1800 were limited in number due to the fragility of the media of aquatint and stipple engraving, mezzotinting, and etching. With the advent of both commercial lithography and wood engraving in the early 19th century print runs became much larger and such prints became more common. Increasing literacy, the emergence of popular illustrated journals such as the Illustrated London News, The Graphic, the Illustrated Times, Le Monde Illustré, the Canadian Illustrated News, and others also meant an increasing number of printed images became available to a wider public. By the mid-1880s, prints after photographs became an increasingly important part of the distribution of popular imagery.
Copyright expired on all pre-1900 printed images.
Please credit Library and Archives Canada, R13133-x
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