Themes

GOLD MINING    •    GOLD IN NATURE    •    GOLD IN SOCIETY    •    GOLD IN ART

Joseph Purcell

Painting showing miners bringing equipment along the beach at The Ovens, NS.

Born in Halifax in 1927, Joseph Purcell developed an early interest in painting, and at fifteen he began exhibiting in local art shows. He studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art for three years and after graduating he began painting Nova Scotian towns and the East Coast and Atlantic fishing industry. Watercolour was his primary medium, which he employed with a strong sense of composition and atmosphere.

Painting showing a miner with a wheelbarrow standing on a bridge in Moose River.

Moose River, c.1986 by Joseph Purcell.

MOI: I95.86.12

Painting showing two men looking over the Waverley mining works from a hilltop.

Waverley, c. 1986 by Joseph Purcell

MOI: I95.86.10

Painting showing three finely dressed individuals looking over the mine works at Tangier.

Tangier, c. 1986 by Joseph Purcell. Portrayed here are Princess Clotilde and Prince Napoleon surveying the diggings.

MOI: I95.86.14

In the 1980s, Joseph Purcell was commissioned to produce a series of paintings by Seabright Resources, a gold mining company that carried out explorations in Nova Scotia. It was Seabright's goal to try and preserve the history of gold mining in Nova Scotia through painting. Purcell carefully researched mines, examined historical photographs, and visited locations of former gold activity, to create accurate paintings based on historical records.