Philip John Bainbrigge

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Philip John Bainbrigge
Born 1817
Lichfield, Staffordshire
Died 1881 (aged 63–64)
Nationality United Kingdom
Occupation military officer, artist and surveyor
Known for beautiful paintings made while he served as a surveyor

Philip John Bainbrigge was an officer, artist and surveyor in the British Army.[1] His father, Philip Bainbrigge, a veteran of the Peninsular War, had also been an artist and surveyor.[2][3][4][5]

He enrolled in the Royal Military College in 1830, where he learned military painting and military surveying.[1] He graduated in 1834 and served in Canada from 1836 through 1842, including during the year of rebellion, 1837-1838.

In her PhD thesis Kamille Parkinson wrote that Bainbrigge was recognized as painting in the "picturesque tradition", and was seen as a member of the "Group of 1838".[6]

According to Christie's Auction House "Library and Archives Canada have a large collection of his Canadian sketches."[7]

He was stationed in or near Ottawa, while in Canada, and many of his paintings record transport along the Ottawa River, including both the fur trade, and the nascent efforts of logging on that river and its tributaries.[8]

Paula Kestelman noted that Bainbrigge chose unorthodox points of view for his subject, and ofter showed city buildings in a rural context, offering this painting of Montreal's Protestant and Roman Catholic cathedrals as an example.

Paula Kestelman's chapter of A Few Acres of Snow: Literary and Artistic Images of Canada is devoted to comparing Bainbrigge's depictions of Montreal to that of Adrien Hebert. She notes Bainbrigge was known for picking unorthodox points of view of his subjects.[9] She notes many of Bainbrigge's depictions of Montreal include the rural lands that surround the city, or show the city in the background, framed by rural views in the foreground. She attributed this to his military perspective, showing the city's surrounding rural areas as a strategic military resource.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Biography of Philip John BAINBRIGGE". Jean-Pierre Valentin Gallery. Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28. "Like many British officer- painters, Philip J. Bainbrigge received his artistic training at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. There, he was instructed in the proper use of perspective and in the handling of light and shade, and he employed these techniques with an ease and spontaneity well-suited to the principles of landscape painting. His rather individual style, while in accordance with the artistic trends of the time, resulted in watercolours that are quite distinctive." 
  2. "Philip Gillespie Bainbrigge 1890-1918 - Ancestry". 
  3. The Peninsula War
  4. "Philip John BAINBRIGGE -". 
  5. "Philip Bainbrigge - Resemblance of Things Past". 
  6. Kamille T. H. Parkinson (2005). "Philip John Bainbrigge and the Group of 1838: Imperial Landscapes and the Colonial Art Scene in Canada". Queen's University (Kingston). Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28. "The author argues that, while Bainbrigge was part of the picturesque tradition and therefore engaged with picturesque imperialism while in Canada, his non-picturesque views are equally as engaged due to changes in professional art practice during this period. The author also examines Bainbrigge's influence within a circle of painters sometimes knows as the Group of 1838." 
  7. "Lieutenant Philip John Bainbrigge (1817-1881): Quebec from Point Levi". Christie's Auction House. 2017-12-13. Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28. "Library and Archives Canada have a large collection of his Canadian sketches." 
  8. "L’exploitation forestière selon Philip John Bainbrigge" (in French). Histoire, patrimoine et éducation. Archived from the original on 2021-06-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28. 
  9. A Few Acres of Snow: Literary and Artistic Images of Canada. Dundurn Press. 1992. pp. 23, 196-200, 200-203. ISBN 9781554880508.