Designed to be seen, voyageurs often created their designs using paint. More colorful than scraped bark, their designs many times, reflected the mark of the trading company which the voyageurs represented.
These designs were as bold as the men who paddled the canoes and sometimes included large areas of color that covered both ends of a canoe. Unfortunately these designs were not documented to any great extent and so the vast majority have been lost.
Frances Anne Hopkins (1838 – 1919) – Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall (Canada). Scene showing a large Hudson’s Bay Company freight canoe passing a waterfall, presumably on the French River.
Frances Anne Hopkins (1838 – 1919) – Shooting the Rapids – 1879
Many of these colorful voyageur designs were very elaborate. If you come across a design that you can document as to authenticity and time period please let us know.