Advent Calendar 2015 · Art History · Figure Skating

December 9th: Skating Carnival Montreal by William Notman

skating_carnival_montreal_by_notman
Skating Carnival in Montreal by William Notman. 1870. Colored albumen print. [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve seen this image before, in a book about ice skating history. This work by Scottish-Canadian photographer William Notman (1826-1891) depicts an elaborate gala at Montreal’s Victoria Rink in 1870. The event was to honor Prince Albert of the UK. It looks like a painting or print, but it’s actually a colored albumen photographic print. I can’t get over how many people there are on the ice and how elaborate their costumes are. The rink looks so beautiful with all the garlands and flags, too. I’ve read about these big skating parties and carnivals that they used to have in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, and I so wish I could have seen and participated in one. I wonder how we can bring this back. Any ideas?

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