John McCallum’s depiction of Island historical event
Artist John McCallum likes to work in the large scale, and his mural-sized paintings have become part of the PEI visual landscape. One notable work is the painting commissioned to commemorate the Juno beach landing of June 5, 1944 which hangs in the foyer of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Charlottetown.
John is drawn to significant historic events for his large works. At the Confederation Centre of the Arts he created a painting about the Quebec Conference of 1864. This work was based on the painting by Robert Harris which was destroyed by fire in the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa. John’s painting was based on a surviving Harris’ sketch.
Another painting depicted the ceremony of driving of the last spike for Canada’s first transcontinental, in 1885.
Now visitors to the entrance hallway of The Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown can view John’s portrait of all twenty-three of the original Fathers of Confederation as they might have posed at the Charlottetown Conference of 1864—Prince Edward Island’s historical claim to fame in the story of Canadian confederation—as imagined by John.
Each Father is a faithful portrait and John has arranged them in order of importance to the occasion with John A. MacDonald, Darcy McGee and George-Étienne Cartier in prominent positions.
The painting shows three large windows through which can be seen Charlottetown Harbour and Rocky Point across the way.
The 10-foot by 15-foot painting is on permanent load to The Holman Grand, and John expresses his gratitude to hotel manager John Cudmore, and to the Homburg organization for saying a resounding Yes! to his offer of displaying his work in their space. Take a look.