An important early watercolour in the NOTL Museum is a “View of Fort Niagara” by Anglo-Canadian artist John Herbert Caddy (1801-1883). Born to a military family posted at Quebec City, Caddy enrolled as a cadet at the Royal Military College in Woolich, England, in 1816 where he learned to paint and draw topographical views for military use. A surveyor and engineer in London after his retirement, Caddy moved to Hamilton in 1861, where he devoted himself entirely to painting.
The piece offers a view of Fort Niagara from near the corner of Front and King streets. Its precision suggests Caddy may have used mechanical aids in its creation; Caddy’s style was usually less structured. We know he came to the Niagara region several times (undocumented) after he moved to Hamilton. Was it painted prior to 1833 as the inscription states – or later, after he settled in Hamilton, as is more likely? Its size suggests it may have been painted in the studio from on-the-spot studies. Ultimately we know that Caddy’s creation offers an exceptional panoramic view of an important town feature from about the middle of the 19th century.