MOUNTIE IMAGES -- A Pictorial Sitemap
Mounted Police Images...
Political cartoonist and illustrator Henri Julien was at work at his desk, when his editor entered his studio. Julien would later write:
"I had just been giving the finishing touches to the figure of a tall, gawkish fellow, running across the field in hot pursuit of the ball. His weapon was brandished aloft, one leg high in the air and --
" 'Well, sir.'
" 'Want to go to the North West?'
" 'To the North West?'
" 'With the Mounted Police. Here's a letter from Colonel French. Asks an artist to go. Not a bad idea. Think it'll do. What do you say?'
"As I did not understand what it all meant, I did not say anything...
" 'Will you go?'
" 'I don't care if I do.'
" 'You'll have to ride hundreds of miles bareback.'
" 'You'll have to eat pemmican for months.'
" 'You'll perish of thirst in the desert sometimes.'
" 'You may get scalped.'
" 'You may get lost and devoured by bears.'
" 'Will you go?'
"I jumped from my seat, gave my trousers a good shake and answered promptly: 'Yes!"
"I made instant preparations for my journey. I left my studio..."
-- Henri Julien, June, 1874
From the very beginning, the Mounties have been portrayed in images. Henri Julien accompanied the Force on its Great March West, sending back reports, cartoons and vivid pen-and-ink illustrations to the Canadian Illustrated News. The public waited eagerly for each edition of the News, and Julien's illustrations made him famous...
The North-West Mounted Police in the Yukon...
THE MOUNTIES: WAR DRUMS OF THE BLACKFOOT -- A Northwestern by the Creator of DR. WHO
RCMP Member on a Specially Bred "Musical Ride" Mount
American Artist Arnold Friberg Painted this Masterwork...
James Oliver Curwood's Stories Appeared in Books, Magazines & Movies...
In Today's World, no Mountie Stands Alone
From the ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE Homepage -- to the World of POLICE SCANNERS...
MOUNTIE IMAGES: Following Henri Julien, more artists presented the life of the Mounted Police to a fascinated public. Then came the photographs. Photos revealed the Mountie's expansion into the North during the 1890's.
With the new century, came popular fiction -- and the illustrations. Book cover art presented an heroic vision of the Mounties. Magazines followed. Pulp fiction gave its own interpretation.
With the silent movies came a new medium. Movie posters and stills became collector's items. Hundreds of Canadian-set Northwesterns were filmed. Movies based on the works of James Oliver Curwood totalled 122.
Comic books from Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted to Sergeant Preston of the Yukon had a loyal following. The artwork of the four-color panels continued the heroic image. Both these Dell comics featured painted covers, although later numbers of Sergeant Preston had color photo covers from the television series. These characters also appeared in newspaper comic strips.
Between 1931 to 1970, the Northwest Paper Division of Potlatch Corporation gave away company calendars that would become highly collectible. Sixteen artists worked on the Mountie series, including Hal Foster (of Prince Valiant fame), Burne Hogarth, J Allen St John, Studley Burroughs and Arnold Friberg. These drawings, sketches, water and oil paintings are collected at the Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth. Many of the prints are for sale.
By the 1920's, the Force was becoming modernized. But the Mounties still used horses in remote areas. In the foothills of the Rockies, they maintained a few Mountain Patrols -- many tourists believed the Force was called the "Royal Canadian Mountain Police."
Today, the modern Force carries on. The Mounties, whether dressed in traditional Red Serge or using the latest technologies, remain the iconic Canadian Image...