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Photograph: William Melchoir Magrath
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Title: Photograph: William Melchoir Magrath
Identifier: 979.6.403
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1850-1888
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A hand-coloured Notman photograph of William Melchoir Magrath. The photo is the head and shoulders of a man looking towards the proper right. His is balding on the top of his head but had full mutton chops along the side of his face. He is wearing a waistcoat, jacket and high collared shirt. The photograph is in an oval matte and a simple wooden gilt frame with glass. Tag on back reads "Youngest son of James Magrath and father of Mary Magrath Harris, b.1816, d.1888 ".

William Melchoir Magrath (1816-1888) was one of Reverend James Magrath's (1769-1851) youngest son. James Magrath was the first rector of St. Peterís Anglican Church. William M. Magrath was fourteen when the family settled in Upper Canada. He became manager of the family farm, which he called Erindale Estate. William married Christiana Sutherland (1831-1860) and they had three daughters: Marion (Mammo), Mary and Isabel (Minnie). Christiana passed away in December 1860 due to complications of child birth shortly after the birth of her third daughter, Isabel; and Williamís sister Anna Cordelia (1819-1895) helped to raise the girls. Their second daughter, Mary (1859-1954), married Arthur Beveridge Harris (1843-1932) of Benares and they had three daughters, two who survived: Annie (1882-1986) and Naomi (1883-1968).

Notman Photographic Firm in Toronto regularly hired artists to paint photographs or backdrops. The firm was owned by William Notman (1826-1891) and John Arthur Fraser (1938-1898). Notman was the first Canadian photographer to gain an international reputation. He was highly regarded by his colleagues for his innovative photography and held patents for several techniques he had developed. Notman was also an active member of the Montreal artistic community, opening his studio for exhibitions by local painters; the studio also provided training for aspiring photographers and painters.
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