The Seaflower venture

Martin Toft

2017 - Ongoing

Quebec, Canada

The Seaflower Venture is a transatlantic research and photographic project exploring the history of Jersey's cod fishing trade with Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries and its international merchant networks and maritime routes. The project is centred around cod-merchant Charles Robin who founded the most successful Jersey firm on the Gaspé Peninsula and the extraordinary photographic archive and unpublished fictional biography of Robin’s life based on his own diaries written by Phyllis Gertrude Ross in the 1950s. Using her manuscript of some 275,000 words as a narrative structure, and probing this important history of Jersey’s maritime identity through a photographic discourse the project explore the creative potential for image- making between the fictional and non-fictional story about Robin's trading posts in the new British colonies in North America and its merchant networks in the West Indies, South America and Mediterranean.

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  • Derelict Drive-in cinema near Paspébiac on the Bay of Chaleur, Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 31 July 2017.

  • A small scale model of Charles Robin and Company's former headquarter of warehouses and codfish processing plant at Paspébiac on the Bay of Chaleur, Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 12 August 2017.

  • Graduation portrait of Peter LeGros, son of the last acting General Manager, Arthur LeGros of Robin Jones and Whitman Ltd stores on the Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 22 August 2017.

  • A mallet used by Jersey carpenters and ship builders belonging to Maison Le Page, Maibaie, Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 14 Aug 2017.

  • Barry Syvret, a Canadian with Channel Island descent, Malbaie, Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 18 August 2017.

  • The parlour with portraits of Jersey ancestors on the wall, Maison Le Page, Malbaie, Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 10 August 2017.

  • Personal diary belonging to Cecil Le Marquand whose grandfather, Charles Le Marquand left Jersey in the 19th Century as a young teenager to work for Charles Robin and Company Ltd. Malbaie, Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 18 Aug 2017.

  • Photograph from a family album belonging to Wendy Le Marquand showing the large congregation of Jersey Canadians at Sunday service in St Peter’s Church, Malbaie in the 1970s. Gāspe Coast, Québec, Canada 18 August 2017.

  • Magasin Général Historique Authentique 1928, A former store owned by Robin, Jones and Whitman Ltd in the small fishing port of L’Anse-á-Beaufils. Owner Rémi Cloutier re-enacts working life for busloads of tourists. Gáspe Coast, Quebec, Canada 11 August 2017.

  • An old ice house still in use by fish merchant, Lelièvre Lelièvre et Lemoignan based at Sainte-Thérèse, Gāspe Coast, Quebec. 19 August 2017.

  • The Annual General Meeting of Gaspé-Jersey-Guernsey Association at the Site Historique du Banc-de-Pêche-de-Paspébiac, Gāspe coast, Quebec. 30 July 2017.

  • A scale model of one Charles Robin’s 23 general stores that he operated in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Bonaventure, Gāspe coast, Quebec. 31 July 2017.

  • One of the last Robin Jones & Whitman stores still in operation in the village of Barachois, Gāspe coast, Quebec. 29 July 2017.

  • A family bible that belonged to Mary Ann Le Marquand who left Jersey in 1888 for Canada to marry Thomas David Le Page , Malbaie, Gāspe coast, Québec, Canada. 5 Aug 2017.

  • An antique maritime telescope belonging to Captain Francis Le Marquand (father of Mary Ann Le Marquand) who worked as a master on Jersey vessels sailing between the Channel Islands and Canada. Malbaie, Gāspe coast, Québec, Canada 10 Aug 2017.

  • A cross necklace worn by Josh an Anglican deacon in the Diocese of Quebec. Gāspe. Canada 9 Aug 2017.

  • Vane Le Page with a photograph of his first wife Thelma Leggo who died in childbirth at Malbaie. Montréal, Québec, Canada 26 Aug 2017.

  • A wooden drying rack near La Bell Anse wharf. Malbaie, Gāspe coast, Québec, Canada 5 Aug 2017.

  • A glass of Opium Pills from a Jersey ship’s medicine cabinet belonging to Enid Legros-Wise, daughter of Arthur LeGros. Hopetown, Gāspe coast, Québec, Canada 20 Aug 2017.

  • A view across to Parc National Forillon where there were Jersey settlements of about 100 families that were evicted in 1970 by the Canadian government to establish a national park at Grande-Grave. Gāspe, Québec, Canada 16 Aug 2017.