John Elliott Woolford

John Elliott Woolford, landscape painter and architect (b London, England in 1778; d at Fredericton, NB 1866.) At the age of 19 he joined the Second Royal Regiment of Foot. Evidently he had already received training in painting and architectural rendering before he entered the army, because his ability as an artist came to the attention of his commanding officer, the 9th earl of Dalhousie. When the regiment took part in the British Expedition to Egypt in 1800, Lord Dalhousie commissioned Woolford to make a pictorial record of the campaign. Woolford left the army in 1803 to become a landscape painter in Edinburgh.

In 1816 he came to Canada at the request of Lord Dalhousie, who had been appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia. Woolford accompanied Lord Dalhousie on his official travels, providing an extensive record of topographical views for His Lordship in NS, NB and in Québec and Ontario when Lord Dalhousie became governor general of Canada in 1820. In 1823 he was appointed to the Barracks Department in NB, where he remained for 36 years.

As an architect, he designed the new Government House in Fredericton, NB, and Kings College, Fredericton, in 1828 (some other buildings in Fredericton are attributed to him).

Woolford is noted for his many topographical watercolours of Canadian views, and for an ambitious set of 4 aquatint views of Halifax which he drew, etched and published in Halifax in 1819. His paintings are found in the collections of the NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA, the NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA, Ottawa, the Metropolitan Toronto Library and the Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax.