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date: 11 December 2019

Van Horne, Sir William (Cornelius)locked

(b Chelsea, IL, Feb 3, 1843; d Montreal, Sept 11, 1915).
  • Janet M. Brooke

Extract

(Cornelius)

(b Chelsea, IL, Feb 3, 1843; d Montreal, Sept 11, 1915).

Canadian businessman and collector of American birth. His family was impoverished by the death of his father, and he left school to work as a telegram messenger, progressing through the ranks of several American railway companies before moving to Canada in 1881 to become general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He expanded it to a transcontinental line and became its president in 1888, furthering the company’s reach with steamship lines and a chain of hotels. He avidly collected fossils as a youth, and with his growing fortune set about building art collections with the same astuteness and single-mindedness with which he built his railways. He was alert to prevailing Gilded Age collecting trends in New York but also relied on his own judgment and careful study to assemble a large collection of European Old Master and 19th-century paintings, as well as Asian ceramics. He cultivated ties with fellow Montreal collectors and business colleagues, such as Sir George A. Drummond and James Ross (...

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