The Royal Colonial Institute of London, which he had helped found in 1868, was probably responsible for directing his attention to the Canadian northwest as an alternative to the United States. In the spring of 1872, soon after having attended a meeting of the institute concerning Manitoba, he departed for the northwest via Kansas. He had originally intended to report his findings to the institute in October, but arrived in Manitoba too late to return to London for that purpose. Interested in the varied composition of the province’s society, he stayed on, thinking that he would “find enough to employ both pen and pencil for some time.”
Lynn’s informative letters continued to appear in the Globe. He also began a series of paintings, among them The forks of the Red and Assiniboine, The Dakota boat, Fort Pembina, Fort Pelly, Archbishop Taché [Alexandre-Antonin Taché*], and The Barber house, all dating from 1872 to 1877. Lynn’s work is that of a professional who combined a fine sense of colour and composition with a keen eye for the significant features of his subjects. Although adequate, his genre figures are less successful. Most of his later paintings were variations of these earlier pieces. The popularity of Lynn’s work is demonstrated by the number of versions extant.
From Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Pembina in Art
LYNN, WASHINGTON FRANK, artist, journalist, and author; b. c. 1827 or c. 1837 in Chelsea (London), England, second son of William Bewicke Lynn; m. 2 Sept. 1874 Elizabeth Charlotte Tarren in Winnipeg, and they had two sons and a daughter; d. there 20 July 1906.