Summertime, Arthurs Pass
Behind the scenes
I recently found myself walking through a scene straight out of Grace Butler's 1946 oil painting.
Admittedly her scene depicts the scree slopes of Mount Rolleston (with snow on the peaks despite the summertime setting), believed to be painted from Jacks Hut. I was tramping slightly further to the east, but still in Arthur's Pass National Park. Having stayed one night in the Casey Hut and made my way down the Poulter River Valley, I came out via the arduous climb over the Binser Saddle. The views were sporadic due to the dense beech forest, but the glimpses down into the Poulter and Waimakariri Valleys either side indicate just how well Butler captured the region.
The work was on display for a long time in the permanent collection, and last appeared in the exhibition van der Velden: Otira (seen on the left-hand side of the back wall below), which was interrupted by the February earthquake. We look forward to seeing it - and many others - back on the walls in the future.