Sir Henry Acland (1815-1900) accompanied Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, on a tour of North America between July 15 and November 15, 1860. The prince was sent in response to an invitation sent to his mother, Queen Victoria, to open the Victoria Bridge in Montreal. Dr. Acland joined the Prince's party as his medical advisor.
During the tour, Dr. Acland made many sketches of the sights, events and people he encountered in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Ontario, as well as the United States. After his return to England, Acland prepared six albums, five identical small ones, and one large one, in which he mounted selected drawings. The small albums each deal with separate parts of the tour and together form a chronological record, while the large album is a cross-section of views from the whole trip. Acland presented the albums to his wife as a Christmas gift in 1860 and each volume bears her name on the front fly-leaf.
In addition to these albums, Acland also gave his wife a bound volume of extracts from letters he had sent home. In her turn, Mrs. Acland appears to be responsible for keeping a scrapbook of newspaper clippings and ephemera from the tour.
The six volumes of skecthes have hard green leather covers and on the front of each is printed its title, while on the spine is printed "Sketches in North America" along with the appropriate volume numbers in Roman numerals. Each volume is protected with a thin cloth cover on which the titles and volume numbers are copied in pen and ink with the exception of Volume VI which bears no inscriptions. Volumes 1 to 5 have folios measuring 29.7 x 24.8 cm., while volume VI measures 54.7 x 36.9 cm.
In all but a few cases, the drawings are entirely laid down, so that it is impossible to know what may be inscribed or drawn on the backs. After having glued the drawings into the albums, Acland coloured many of them. He also added inscriptions (titles or description) on the folio below the drawings. Acland mounted drawings in the albums on both the vertical and horizontal axis of the binding. The glue he used to mount the drawings has caused some discolouration, but otherwise the drawings are in good condition. The sketches are of various sizes and are on different colours of wove paper which are probably sheets from the several sketchbooks Acland must have used during the trip. A number of published sources were used to date the drawings or to identify the subjects.
The following is the summary of the contents of each album/volume:
Volume I England to Bay of Fundy [47 sketches]
Volume II New Brunswick to Saguenay [49 sketches]
Volume III Saguenay to Montreal [49 sketches]
Volume IV Montreal to London CW [46 sketches]
Volume V Sarnia, United States and Home [46 sketches]
Volume VI Miscellaneous Sketches [50 sketches]
Volume VII Letters from North America
Volume VIII Prince of Wales, Newspaper Extracts
This series also includes a miscellaneous loose group of 3 engraved portraits, of Sir Henry Acland, W.E. Forster, and Stafford Northcote, as well as two non-North America related drawings.