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Native North America: The Stonyhurst Collection
Photograph frame in the form of a trophy
This wooden trophy is designed in the form of a photograph or picture frame. It was intended to sit on a desk, mantelpiece or occasional table in a Victorian home to remind the owner of a visit to eastern Canada. It stands like a painter's easel with hinged back support, and is made up of several miniaturized carved objects: a canoe, bows, a snow shoe, fish spear and a pair of lacrosse sticks, all out of proportion. They are Iroquoian, and the object might have been made either by the Huron people, or in a Québec Mohawk community.
A souvenir like this would have been sold at shops in Montréal, Québec City and perhaps at the Niagara Falls. It is a good example of the type of object that was sent to international fairs or exhibitions as being typical of Canadian work available for export. The export of made-for-sale souvenirs goes back at least two hundred years, and the exhibitions tried to stimulate the industry further. This trophy, given to Stonyhurst College in 1887, may have been displayed at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886. At previous events such as the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 full-sized versions of the miniature objects that make up this frame, including lacrosse sticks, snow shoes and canoes, were shown. The Mohawk and Huron people sold all of these, among other items, to the non-Native world and these businesses survived through the twentieth century.