Captain Michael Seymour


The son of a naval family, Seymour entered the navy as a first class volunteer in 1813 aboard his father's ship, the HANNIBAL. He attended the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth (1816-1818) where he received extensive instruction in surveying and perspective drawing, although his artwork demonstrates a personal aesthetic far beyond the classical landscape composition taught at the College.

Between 1845 and 1848 Seymour commanded the VINDICTIVE as flag captain to Sir Francis William Austen, brother of the novelist Jane Austen, and Admiral of the North American and West Indies Station. An amateur of great skill, Seymour produced scrapbooks on this tour of duty which included 34 drawings and watercolours of Nova Scotian sites, as well as views of the St Lawrence and Hudson Rivers, Bermuda, and various ports in the West Indies. Perhaps he prepared the scrapbooks as gifts for his wife and two daughters back home to let them know about his life across the ocean.

The set of twenty-one Nova Scotian views owned by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is from an album of watercolour and pencil drawings depicting a tour of duty to North America in 1845 and 1846. These drawings provide a wealth of detail about buildings, land disposition, and transportation patterns of the city as Halifax approached its first centenary.