B.

Manchester Street

Behind the scenes

Manchester Street, Christchurch by Louise Henderson was painted in 1929 and shows a streetscape that remained largely unchanged until the earthquake of 22 February.

Louise Etiennette Sidonie Henderson Manchester Street, Christchurch 1929. Oil on board. Dame Louise Henderson Collection presented by the McKegg Family, 1999. Reproduced with permission

Louise Etiennette Sidonie Henderson Manchester Street, Christchurch 1929. Oil on board. Dame Louise Henderson Collection presented by the McKegg Family, 1999. Reproduced with permission

Henderson's painting resonates strongly with me, as I spent many an hour in this neighbourhood, making noise on an ancient Commodore electric guitar at Purple Mountain Eagle's practice room in the Druids building. Among the artists who shared the Druids building with us were Andre Hemer, Ross Gray, Shannon Williamson, Marie le Lievre, Miranda Parkes and Simon Edwards. Thankfully, when the roof slid off the front of the building and ended up in the middle of Manchester Street, we'd all been out of the building for a month or so – our eviction the result of September's quake. I drove this stretch of Manchester Street a few weeks back when assisting the Brooke Gifford Gallery to rescue their works, and it seemed that all the old buildings were broken beyond repair, making Henderson's painting all the more poignant.

Door to Purple Mountain Eagle's band room in the Druids Building, Manchester Street

Door to Purple Mountain Eagle's band room in the Druids Building, Manchester Street

Related

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(Simon Edwards, October 2010)

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Louise Henderson Manchester Street, Christchurch

The Paris-born Louise Henderson (née Sauze) arrived in Christchurch in 1925 after marrying a New Zealander, and began her career here teaching design and embroidery at the Canterbury College School of Art. Henderson’s highly skilful, elevated view of Manchester Street, east of Cathedral Square, shows a streetscape that until the 2010–11 Canterbury earthquakes had remained largely intact.

(Above ground, 2015)