As might be expected, the Gallery's collection is primarily made up of complete works; prepared, resolved and sent on their way, as ready as they'll ever be for public exposure.
Alongside these, however, are numerous examples of other products of the artistic process, the preparatory sketches and working drawings that sometimes reveal as much about the artist's thinking as the end result. Perhaps my favourite example is this fragment containing drawings by Petrus van der Velden (born on this day in 1837).
Taken on face value, it suggests the economies of a working artist, cramming the available piece of paper with unrelated sketches. With twenty-first century eyes, however, it's hard to avoid the striking juxtaposition the artist has – we presume unintentionally – created. That huge, weary head, with hooded eyes, set against the fine lines of houses and other structures, is simply irresistible. It also seems an apt illustration for current times in Christchurch, where built structures and their survival or destruction eats up so many daily newspaper centimetres. Touché, Mr van der Velden (and hartelijk gefeliciteerd met uw verjaardag).