2007.021.025
Object Title
Portrait of Christopher Alexander Hagerman
Object Name
Painting
Date Made
1848
Materials
Oil on Canvas --Wood
Eminent Figure
Christopher Alexander Hagerman
Catalogue Number
2007.021.025
Dimensions

H 284.48 cm x W 193.04 cm x D 21.59 cm

Description

An over-life-size, full length portrait of Christopher Alexander Hagerman. He is standing on an oriental-type carpet, in front of a table with elaborately carved legs. The figure stands directly facing the viewer, his head turned to look to the right (viewer's left), with his weight shifted to his right leg. He holds scrolled documents in his left hand, which hangs by his side, and he gestures with his right hand raised to about mid-chest height. He is wearing black shoes and pants, a black topcoat with tails, a black waistcoat with a gold watch chain and blue ribbon, and a red shirt with a white collar and a full cravat. The subject has wavy dark brown hair, dark eyebrows and blue eyes. There is what appears to be a large portfolio leaning against the table in the lower left of the composition, with the edge of a heavy gold braided and tasselled drapery in the background above. Behind the figure is red drapery. In the right background is a small landscape with hills and descending waterfalls.

The portrait is housed in a mid 19th century gilt wood and plaster frame. Plain back edge; acanthus and shield top edge, plain scotia to gadrooned top edge; acanthus and foliated scrollwork corners and centres, with foliate on hatched ogee top edge; plain, narrow ogee, egg and flower bead, bevelled sight edge.

History

Few individuals in Upper Canada’s sometime turbulent political history provoked such extreme hostility as Christopher Alexander Hagerman. He was known both as ‘Handsome Kit’ and ‘the Thunderer of Kingston,’ given his forte for sound and fury that often got him into trouble. A member of Upper Canada’s governing tory elite, Hagerman became a lieutenant colonel in the War of 1812. After the war, he spent a year as collector of customs of Kingston before being called to the bar in 1815. In 1820, Hagerman was elected as Kingston’s representative in the Legislative Assembly. He was appointed solicitor general in 1829, attorney general in 1837 and a Court of Queen’s Bench justice in 1840.