December 22, 2020

Provincial Archives’ Palliser Painting Returns to Ireland On Loan

The Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan has sent a 149-year-old portrait from its collection on an international journey, and it is now on long-term loan to the Waterford Art Gallery, in Waterford, Ireland, as part of a major in-house exhibition.

The portrait is of Mary Palliser (1834-1879), the sister of famous explorer John Palliser who helped survey Canada in the 1850s.  It was painted in 1871 by Victorian-era Irish watercolour artist and museum director Sir Frederic William Burton (1816-1900).  The portrait was donated to the Provincial Archives in 1994 by a descendent of a good friend of the Palliser family.  The connection to Saskatchewan lies in Mary Palliser’s sibling, the famous explorer John Palliser.

“The Government of Saskatchewan is happy to share the Palliser painting with the Irish public and strengthen our shared connections around the world during a time when physical travel is a challenge,” Minister Responsible for the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Jim Reiter said.  “The people of Waterford, Ireland will enjoy viewing the painting and Saskatchewan’s contribution to archival history.”

The Palliser family has its roots in Comeragh, Ireland and Mary Palliser is buried in Comeragh Cemetery in Lemybrien, County Waterford.  The Palliser portrait was in Dublin in 2017 for the Frederic William Burton: For the Love of Art exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland.

“The Provincial Archives is excited to see this portrait return to Ireland,” Provincial Archivist Linda McIntyre said.  “The Mary Palliser painting is just one gem found in our rich documentary history at the Archives.”

To learn more about the many treasures in the Permanent Collection at the Provincial Archives, visit