Radium Mine

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Radium Mine is the title of a painting made by Canadian artist A.Y. Jackson when he visited the mine-site of the isolated Radium mine at Port Radium, NWT, in 1938.[1][2] Jackson was a friend of prospector Gilbert LaBine, then the mine manager, and flew to the site with him.


When the painting came up for auction on November 22, 2012 it was described as "historically significant".[1][2][3] The painting was held privately by the LaBine family, prior to the auction, and had been available for public viewing only once. It was expected to sell for as much as $300,000 CAD.

Second painting[edit]

Jackson is known to have composed several other paintings during his many visits to Port Radium.[4][5] It was purchased by a private owner, whose estate donated it to the National Gallery of Canada in 1939.

Art historian John O'brian, an expert on Jackson's work, said he had been unaware of the existence of the painting.[3]

Extra interest in the painting was triggered by the mine being the prime source of Uranium for the atomic bomb used in World War II.[1][2][6]


  1. ^ a b c "Painting tied to Manhattan Project to be auctioned". Asia One. 2012-11-14. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2012-12-02. A 74-year-old painting depicting the Canadian mine that produced uranium for the world's first atomic bomb will go under the hammer in Toronto on November 22, set to fetch up to Can$300,000 (S$367,000). 
  2. ^ a b c Steve Murti (2012-11-13). "Long unseen, 'Radium Mine' by Group of Seven great A.Y. Jackson has nuclear significance". Yahoo News. Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-02. Jackson painted the work, along with one other now hanging in the National Gallery of Canada, during a 1938 visit to the Northwest Territories mine owned by his friend Gerald LaBine. The operation was on the eastern shore of Great Bear Lake, about 440 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife. 
  3. ^ a b Randy Boswell (2012-11-12). "A.Y. Jackson canvas showing Canadian mine that fuelled atomic bomb emerges at auction". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. The painting, to be sold Nov. 22 at a Heffel Fine Art auction in Toronto, shows a bird's-eye view of the mine site, located about 440 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife. Radium Mine, expected to sell for up to $300,000, was exhibited only once, in 1939, and has remained with the LaBine family as a prized memento of Jackson's visit to the site just before the outbreak of the Second World War. 
  4. ^ Gray-Cosgrove, Carmella. "Picturing uranium, producing art: A.Y. Jackson's Port Radium collection". Active History. 
  5. ^ "A.Y. Jackson: Radium Mine, Great Bear Lake 1938, oil on wood". National Gallery of Canada. Archived from the original on 2012-11-23. Retrieved 2012-11-.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ Dave Core (2012-11-13). "'Radium Mine' by Group of Seven great A.Y. Jackson has nuclear significance". Pipeline Observer. Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. But as Boswell’s story points out, there’s a darker element to the painting that Jackson certainly couldn’t know at the time. Just a few years after his visit, uranium from what became known as the El Dorado mine was used in the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945. It was Canada’s principal contribution to mammoth Manhattan Project.