Watercolour painting by Alfred Robinson of Star House Pole

Watercolour painting by Alfred Robinson of Star House Pole
Accession number: 
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Watercolour painting by Alfred Robinson of the Haida totem pole known as ‘Star House Pole’. This painting was made in 1901, based on an earlier photograph of the totem pole in its original location (situated in front of Star House) in Masset, Canada, with colour added from life after the pole’s arrival in Oxford in the autumn of 1901. The painting was commissioned from his assistant by Professor Edward Burnett Tylor, for inclusion as the frontispiece or main image (plate A) in his scholarly article on the subject: E. B. Tylor, ‘Note on the Haida Totem-Post Lately Erected in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford’, Man: A Monthly Record of Anthropological Science, 2 (1902), pp.1–3.

Artist: Alfred Robinson
Date of painting: 1901
Continent: North America
Geographical area: North America
Country: Canada | United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Region/Pace: British Columbia; Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands); Masset
Cultural group: Haida
Format: Watercolour painting
Size: 532 x 455 mm (framed)
Acquisition: Edward Burnett Tylor. Bequeathed 1917


Annotations on painting: ‘Alf. Robinson del. 1901’ (written on painting in pencil); ‘The Totem-pole standing before the chief’s house in Masset, Queen Charlotte I[slan]d.’ (written on painting in black ink).

Research notes: It has been identified by Philip Grover that this watercolour painting was based on an original (black and white) photograph taken by Bertram Buxton in Masset in 1882.