Lewis Parker & Louisbourg

Published February 2, 2015 by A.J.B. Johnston

Ken Donovan, a good friend and longtime Fortress of Louisbourg colleague, sent me a photo today that brought back a lot of memories. A link to that photo is below.

Back around 1980, the late great historical artist Lewis Parker came from Ontario to live in Cape Breton and to work on two large murals depicting Louisbourg in 1744. Those paintings hang in the commissaire ordonnateur’s residence (aka Bigot House). I was fortunate to be selected as Lew’s main contact person / historical adviser. That meant I spent a lot of time with him over what must have been an 18-month period. When the need arose, I channeled what I and other researchers at the Fortress knew about the place for the painter to put into his two compositions. Lew’s talent for including details, while creating a painter’s striking composition, was remarkable. But more than that was the man himself. I don’t think I’ve ever met a kinder, more gentle soul. Everyone who ever spent any time with Lew felt exactly the same. He became very much a grandfather figure for our three kids.

As for the photo, I have no idea what Lew and I were laughing at. I wish I knew.Judging by the painting, the “View from the Clock Tower” was nearly finished. The other painting to be done at that time was “View from a Warship.”

Thanks to Ken for taking the original photo and for sharing it with me, thirty some years after the event it depicts.

Lewis Parker & John Johnston High Resolution02052013_0000

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