Trove

Recounting the untold stories behind some of the works in the exhibition Treasury: A Generous Legacy, curator Ken Hall also underlines the value of art philanthropy.

Investigating the stories behind the many gifts and bequests in Treasury has been satisfying in many ways. For a start, the research process nicely feeds the detective instinct; for this project it has been a collaborative activity, with dues rightly paid to colleagues Tim Jones and Deborah Hyde. Piecing together elements from sources including artist and object files, books, wills, archives and historical newspapers online (from France, Britain, Australia and New Zealand) also helps us see how our collection has come together. The understandings gained can tell us much about our shared past and the multiple facets shaping Christchurch culture. With this, our research has highlighted the inspired efforts and generosity that have supplied strength to our historical collection, uncovering many fascinating, often hidden, histories connected to works of art. The stories told here contain links to some of art history’s most famous names; extraordinary wealth connected to colonial roots; banished occupants of a royal palace; a young woman's likeness with an excess of admirers; and a significant Tainui leader and his European contacts. Some of these paintings had been enjoyed by the privileged few before entering this collection; others briefly shared with a larger crowd. All are loved works within this collection, including two relatively new arrivals, and all have benefited from this intensified recent research.

The Physician 1653

Gerrit Dou

Gerrit Dou The Physician 1653. Oil on copper. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Heathcote Helmore Bequest 1965

Gerrit Dou The Physician 1653. Oil on copper. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Heathcote Helmore Bequest 1965

Gerrit Dou (1613–1675), a leading figure in Dutch painting’s Golden Age, became Rembrandt’s first pupil aged just fourteen, studying under him for three years from 1628; before long he had eclipsed his master’s reputation and his extraordinarily detailed paintings were being prized by wealthy collectors. Bearing Dou’s signature and the year 1653, The Physician is one of four near-identical versions—a copy at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the only one not signed. The one believed to be the original, in Vienna, is painted on oak; the others are on copper. It was not exceptional for artists such as Dou to make copies of their own works in response to demand.

This painting’s earliest documented owner is the Somerset-born Henry Francis Gray (1837–1905), who reached Port Lyttelton in 1856, aged eighteen, to farm in Canterbury. His brothers Ernest and Albert also took this path. He and his seven siblings were already well-off in 1870 when their father, the Reverend Frederick William Gray of Castle Cary, died and left a fortune of £210,000 (having the buying power of $17,000,000 today) as well as an (undocumented) art collection.

In 1881, Henry Gray was commended in local newspapers for lending The Physician for the Canterbury Society of Arts’ first exhibition. He left New Zealand for South Africa and the Argentine in 1899, and the painting passed through family lines to his great-nephew Heathcote Helmore (1894–1965), a prominent Christchurch architect, who bequeathed this treasure to the Gallery in 1965.

 

 

Les Puritaines/La Lecture de la Bible 1857

Henriette Browne

Henriette Browne Les Puritaines/La Lecture de la Bible 1857. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by R.E. McDougall 1930

Henriette Browne Les Puritaines/La Lecture de la Bible 1857. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by R.E. McDougall 1930

Henriette Browne (1829–1901) was a well-known French painter of religious and Orientalist themes; this painting has many interesting names attached to it.1 Evidently depicting young sixteenth-century Huguenots contemplating scripture, it was first exhibited at the 1857 Paris Salon as Les Puritaines.2 The author Jules Verne recorded Browne exhibiting ‘four excellent canvases’ in his review of the Salon, but sympathised less with the subjects of this work than the painter had: ‘Les Puritaines are painted with a conscientious truth; everything in their features, in the asceticism of their faces, in the cut of their grey garments, in their stiff and serious attitude, denotes very well the daughters of Protestantism’s most intolerant sect.’3

Painted during the early years of the Second French Empire (1852–70), at which time thousands of opponents of Emperor Napoléon III were being imprisoned or fleeing into exile, Les Puritaines—in picturing persecuted citizens of the past—may have permitted a gently political reading.4 Any such interpretation, however, did not hinder its purchase at the Salon by the Empress Eugénie. It was displayed until 1870 at the (soon to be destroyed) Tuileries Palace, when she and her husband went into permanent exile in England following his crushing defeat to Prussia. Napoléon died three years later; this and other paintings were restored to Eugénie in 1881.5 Following her death in 1920, it was sold in 1922 at Christie’s in London (renamed La Lecture de la Bible) to the Sydney art dealer William J. Wadham, who sold it to Christchurch art dealer John Walker Gibb. After being shown in Dunedin at the 1925–6 New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, it was purchased by the Christchurch biscuit manufacturer Robert E. McDougall, donor of Christchurch’s first public gallery, and became a part of his extraordinary civic gift.

Teresina 1874

Frederic Leighton

Frederic Leighton Teresina 1874. Oil on canvas board. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts 1932

Frederic Leighton Teresina 1874. Oil on canvas board. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts 1932

The name Teresina appears in a notebook list of models sketched by Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) in 1874 while in Rome, where he typically relocated from London each autumn. The completed painting, like other of his portrait studies from the late 1850s onwards, shows the influence of Renaissance portraiture, presenting his (often Italian) sitters in a restrained, simplified style. This was in contrast with his vast history paintings packed with human figures, including Daphnephoria, a five-and-a-quarter metre long work shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1876 alongside Teresina. Picturing an ancient Greek festival honouring Apollo, it captured all of the attention. But this little picture also sold.

Teresina had several owners, all serious art collectors, in the thirty years before coming to Christchurch. The first, Charles Peter Matthews, was a wealthy brewer with homes in Mayfair and Essex, who died in 1891. It was then purchased at auction by Aylesbury picture-dealer Robert Gibbs, who sold it to the Reigate-based John Rudolph Lorent, a former Rothschilds’ banker who spent all that he could on art. His need to raise a dowry for his daughter in 1894 coincides with his parting with Teresina. The next owner was Thomas Craig-Brown, a Scottish woollen manufacturer and antiquarian who was praised for lending it to the Scottish Royal Academy Exhibition in 1896. Inexplicably, he also allowed it to be sent to Christchurch for the 1906–7 New Zealand International Exhibition and purchased for £100 by the Canterbury Society of Arts. Teresina was presented to the city’s new Robert McDougall Art Gallery in 1932.

Panier de Raisins 1893

Henri Fantin-Latour

Henri Fantin-Latour Panier de Raisins 1893. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Frank White Bequest 2001

Henri Fantin-Latour Panier de Raisins 1893. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Frank White Bequest 2001

Every June from 1878 onwards, once the clamour of the Paris Salon had subsided, the painters Henri Fantin-Latour (1836–1904) and his wife Victoria (née Dubourg, 1840–1926) closed their Paris apartment and headed to the country, a small house with a garden in Lower Normandy, working there until the summer had ended. From Paris, Fantin-Latour shipped his most successful new fruit and flower paintings to his London friends, the art dealers Edwin and Ruth Edwards. Edwin Edwards had supported Fantin-Latour when Paris was in turmoil in 1871 at the close of the Franco-Prussian war by clearing his studio of drawings and still-life paintings to sell in England. Subsequent demand for his work from English collectors created a regular income for Fantin-Latour, whose still-life works were for a long while unknown to his countrymen. As the painter Jacques-Émile Blanche complained in 1919, ‘For too long, they were not found in France; Fantin was revealed to us only through rare portraits and fantasies.’6

Panier de Raisins (basket of grapes) was purchased through Ruth Edwards in London. Its buyer is unrecorded, but it was almost certainly purchased by the parents of its donor, Frank White (1910–2001), a Hororata sheep and cattle farmer and arborist who brought his mother’s belongings to New Zealand following her death in Somerset in 1935. White came to New Zealand in 1927 to study farming at Canterbury Agricultural College (now Lincoln University). Graduating in 1929, he served with the New Zealand armed forces in North Africa and the Mediterranean during the Second World War, and never married.7 Following his death in 2001, the Gallery was offered first choice of his paintings by bequest. Twelve were selected, among which this work is the most exceptional.

A Hot Day: Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta 1901

Charles Frederick Goldie

Charles Frederick Goldie A Hot Day: Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta 1901. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts 1932

Charles Frederick Goldie A Hot Day: Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta 1901. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts 1932

Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi (1823?–1910) of Ngāti Mahuta was a well-known resident of Mangere, Auckland when his portrait was first painted by the thirty-year-old Charles Frederick Goldie (1870–1947) in 1901. Goldie had spent six years studying abroad from the age of twenty-two, mostly in Paris, returning in 1898 as ‘a young and promising artist’ with an impressive European art training behind him.8 By 1900, he was showing a mix of portraits of European and Māori sitters at the Auckland Society of Arts. He exhibited two portraits in the following year with the Canterbury Society of Arts.

Goldie and Pātara were introduced to each other in 1901 by the writer and historian James Cowan, who observed the first of their many collaborations and had also interviewed Pātara in depth. On 18 February 1902, his detailed biography of Pātara filled almost a page of the Christchurch Star. This may have been by design, as seven weeks later Goldie’s first two portraits of him, including this one, were shown at the Canterbury Society of Arts. Christchurch readers had opportunity, therefore, to become apprised of major aspects of the Tainui leader’s life, receiving at the same time a potted history of New Zealand, with the sorry truths of colonisation thoroughly embedded. Pātara was most animated when describing his involvement in the Māori King Movement, including as a newspaper publisher and as secretary to his cousin King Tāwhiao; their long exile in the Waikato ‘King Country’; and their visit to England in 1884 in the hope of proper recognition from Queen Victoria of the Treaty signed in 1840 on her behalf.9 A Hot Day was purchased in April 1902 by the Canterbury Society of Arts shortly after the exhibition opened, and presented to the city’s new gallery in 1932.10

In the Wizard’s Garden c.1904

George Dunlop Leslie

George Dunlop Leslie In the Wizard’s Garden c.1904. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented to the Canterbury Society of Arts by W. Harris, 1907; given to the Gallery in 1932

George Dunlop Leslie In the Wizard’s Garden c.1904. Oil on canvas. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, presented to the Canterbury Society of Arts by W. Harris, 1907; given to the Gallery in 1932

George Dunlop Leslie (1835–1921) was a prolific, successful artist who exhibited annually at the Royal Academy in London from 1859—usually theatrical, symbolism-laden paintings of young women from a previous age. He exhibited In the Wizard’s Garden at the Academy in 1904. Both the artist and the painting’s donor, Wolf Harris (1833–1926), were present at the opening.11 Harris, a Kraków-born, London-based Jewish businessman with New Zealand connections, had already purchased a work by Leslie for himself, and was regarded as ‘a great friend of many of the artists […] accustomed every year just after the opening of the Academy to entertain at dinner the president and other academicians’, probably including Leslie.12 Harris (born Wolf Hersch Schlagit) moved to Australia from Poland in 1849, to Wellington in 1851, and then to Dunedin in 1857 during the Otago gold rushes, and there founded Bing, Harris & Co., a highly successful clothing importing and manufacturing company. Establishing branches throughout New Zealand, he opened another in London after moving there permanently in 1864.13 Harris maintained his New Zealand links and made business trips, the last in 1898. When George Leslie lent In the Wizard’s Garden for the 1906–7 Christchurch International Exhibition, it was Harris who purchased it for the Canterbury Society of Arts, who in turn gave it to the city in 1932.

Related

Collection
The Physician
Gerrit Dou The Physician

Gerrit Dou was a leading figure in Dutch painting during the 1600s – a period often referred to as the Golden Age. A pupil of Rembrandt van Rijn, Dou favoured painting interior scenes and his work is renowned for its minute detail and immaculate finish. In The Physician a learned man examines the contents of a flask thought to contain urine, a test frequently used to diagnose pregnancy in the seventeenth century. Although it is a small painting, it is full of symbolism: the putti playing with a goat in the frieze represents sinful pleasure and the medical book opened on a page featuring a human skeleton leaning against a shovel represents a gravedigger, a memento mori, or reminder of our own mortality.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Exhibition
Treasury: A Generous Legacy

Treasury: A Generous Legacy

Stunning proof of the impact of generosity on the Christchurch collection.

Notes
Study (Woman in a wide black hat) by Raymond McIntyre

Study (Woman in a wide black hat) by Raymond McIntyre

This article first appeared as 'The Muse' in The Press on 25 August 2015.

Collection
Lake Wakatipu
John Gully Lake Wakatipu

In 1877, John Gully retired from his role as chief draughtsman in the Nelson Survey Office and took a month-long sketching tour of Wanaka, Milford Sound, Wakatipu and Manapouri. A year later, when he exhibited his new watercolours, he was commended by the Nelson Evening Mail for “two large watercolour paintings, the latest, and, to our mind, the best of the many that have been produced from the studio of that now celebrated artist... These represented Milford Sound and Lake Wakatipu… two nobler pictures it would be difficult to find.”

(Our Collection: 19th and 20th Century New Zealand Art, 2018)

Commentary
The wisdom of crowds

The wisdom of crowds

In recent years, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing have become big news in the arts. By providing a funding model that enables would-be-investors to become involved in the production of new works, they have altered traditional models of patronage. Musicians, designers, dancers and visual artists are inviting the public to finance their projects via the internet. The public are also being asked to provide wealth in the form of cultural capital through crowdsourcing projects. The Gallery has been involved in two online crowdfunding ventures – a project with a public art focus around our 10th birthday celebrations, and the purchase of a major sculpture for the city. But, although these projects have been made possible by the internet, the concept behind the funding model is certainly not new. The rise of online crowdfunding platforms also raises important questions about the role of the state in the funding and generation of artwork, and the democratisation of tastemaking. How are models of supply and demand affected? Does the freedom from more traditional funding models allow greater innovation? Do 'serious' artists even ask for money? It's a big topic, and one that is undoubtedly shaping up in PhD theses around the world already. Bulletin asked a few commentators for their thoughts on the matter.

 

Notes
Still life with flowers in a basket by Pieter Hardimé

Still life with flowers in a basket by Pieter Hardimé

This article first appeared as 'Allegory of life's beauty, brevity and fragility' in The Press on 15 August 2014.

Collection
Laura
Elizabeth Kelly Laura

Elizabeth Kelly (née Abbott) made this sculptural portrait bust while at the Canterbury College School of Art, where she studied from 1891–1901. She won regular prizes for her modelling from life, including at the 1906–07 Christchurch International Exhibition. Kelly later became one of New Zealand’s leading society portrait painters, in the 1930s showing her work in exhibitions in London, Edinburgh and Paris.

Laura was modelled on the artist’s younger sister, Laura Maude Cox (née Abbott, 1884–1957). One of the earliest sculptures in the collection by a New Zealand born artist, it is a recent gift to the city from Margaret Abbott, a great-niece of the two sisters.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Notes
Revealed

Revealed

The answer to yesterday's puzzle is Teresina by Frederick Leighton

Collection
Mountain Stream, Otira Gorge
Petrus van der Velden Mountain Stream, Otira Gorge

The Rotterdam-born Petrus van der Velden arrived in New Zealand in 1890. Following his first visit to Otira Gorge in January 1891, he became engrossed with this subject, and painted its powerful, surging torrents many times over the next two years.

This painting was purchased by Gilbert Anderson, a leader in New Zealand’s frozen meat industry, also involved with the Canterbury Society of Arts. Anderson sold it to the Society in 1912; it was purchased from them in 1996 through the Community Trust and Christchurch Art Gallery Trust.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Notes
Untitled by Meindert Hobbema

Untitled by Meindert Hobbema

This article first appeared as 'Dutch treat' in The Press on 12 April 2013.

Collection
Still Life with Flowers in a Basket
Pieter Hardimé Still Life with Flowers in a Basket

As well as being enjoyed for their superb decorative qualities, Dutch still life paintings were intended to be reminders of the beauty, brevity and fragility of life. An arrangement of tulips, anemone, nicotiana, jonquils, morning glory and oriental poppies, this work is attributed to the Antwerp-born Flemish painter Pieter Hardimé, who lived at The Hague from 1697.

The painting arrived from Windsor, England as an unexpected and welcome gift, shortly after the 2011 earthquakes. It was given in memory of Kathleen Muriel Whiteley (1904–1949), who had historical family ties to Christchurch, from the estate of her husband Albert, whom she married two years before her death in 1949.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Article
The East India Company man: Brigadier-General Alexander Walker

The East India Company man: Brigadier-General Alexander Walker

Getting to know people can take time. While preparing for a future exhibition of early portraits from the collection, I'm becoming acquainted with Alexander Walker, and finding him a rewarding subject. Painted in 1819 by the leading Scottish portraitist of his day, Sir Henry Raeburn, Walker's portrait is wrought with Raeburn's characteristic blend of painterly vigour and attentive care and conveys the impression of a well-captured likeness.

Notes
Angels and Aristocrats

Angels and Aristocrats

Blair Jackson and I attended the opening of Angels & Aristocrats at Dunedin Public Art Gallery on Friday 27 April. It's spectacular.

Notes
Taking Stock

Taking Stock

It's hard to believe, but only eighteen collection works were damaged as a result of all earthquakes, with fourteen damaged on the 22 February 2011.

Collection
Ina te Papatahi, A Ngāpuhi Chieftainess
Charles Frederick Goldie Ina te Papatahi, A Ngāpuhi Chieftainess

Ina Te Papatahi (Te Ngahengahe, Ngāpuhi) was a niece of the prominent Ngāpuhi chiefs Eruera Maihi Patuone and Tāmati Waka Nene, both early signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Ina Te Papatahi lived at the Waipapa Māori hostel in Mechanic’s Bay, Auckland, not far from Charles Goldie’s Hobson Street studio. She sat for him many times and introduced him to many of his other Māori sitters. This likeness belongs to the period when Goldie started painting portraits of elderly Māori with moko, as both memorable subjects and “noble relics of a noble race”. It also reflects the impact of his four and a half years studying in Paris from 1893, where influences included the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, whose portraits he studied and several times copied.

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
Pleasure Garden
Frances Hodgkins Pleasure Garden

This work was painted during a sketching trip to Bridgnorth, Shropshire in the summer of 1932. Its lively watercolour style and subject matter express Hodgkins’s characteristic interest in capturing the fleeting sensations of a moment.

Following her death in England, Pleasure Garden was one of six works by Hodgkins brought to Christchurch in 1948 at the request of the Canterbury Society of Arts. When the Society’s purchasing committee rejected the selection, a group of independent art supporters raised the purchase price and offered it to the city’s gallery, whose refusal generated metres of newspaper column displeasure and debate. In 1951 their persistence finally paid off.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Glasgerion
George Sheridan Knowles Glasgerion

The Manchester-born painter and illustrator George Sheridan Knowles specialised in romantic history pieces and genre scenes. This work – exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1897 – was based on a tragic medieval ballad, in which Glasgerion, a king ’s son, has cast his troubadour spell over the court of the King of Normandy, in pursuit of his fair daughter. The story doesn’t end well.

This was one of six paintings imported from England to Christchurch by the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1903 for consideration to purchase; its acquisition was generously funded by the businessman and politician John T. Peacock (1827–1905). Glasgerion was presented to the city’s new gallery in 1932.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
In the Wizard’s Garden
George Leslie In the Wizard’s Garden

Narrative paintings such as In the Wizard’s Garden were extremely popular with Victorian audiences. Loaded with symbolism that referred to the notion of the fallen woman, the artist provided visual pointers to be unpicked and read by the audience. These include the hitched-up scarlet dress, the fallen leaves in the foreground and the shears which, shown with the blades open, suggest a loss of virtue. Contrasted with the innocence of the young woman, the presence of the silhouetted figure entering the garden adds a sinister element. The stream separating the two figures symbolises a barrier between them – her virtue hangs in the balance. Will she remain pure or will she, through the act of crossing the water, succumb to wantonness?George Dunlop Leslie was a successful, prolific artist who exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1859; usually theatrical, symbol-laden paintings of young women from a previous age.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Collection
Study (Woman in a Wide Black Hat)
Raymond McIntyre Study (Woman in a Wide Black Hat)

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. This painting was modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
La Lecture de la Bible
Henriette Browne La Lecture de la Bible

The French artist Henriette Browne excelled at painting highly realist, representational narrative paintings and La Lecture de la Bible is one of her finest. Browne produced several portraits of religious devotees and the two young women in this painting are thought to be novices studying to enter a religious order. They are clearly virtuous – their austere black garments suggest a puritan character and the painting is also known as The Puritans. The withered flowers on the table are the most obvious narrative element in the painting, these are a vanitas symbol for the passing of time and the loss of youth. La Lecture de la Bible was first owned by Empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoléon III, and was presented to the Gallery by its major benefactor, Robert McDougall.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

First exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1857 with the title 'Les Puritaines', this painting has for many years also been known as 'La Lecture de la Bible'.

Collection
The Colosseum seen from the Southeast
Gaspar van Wittel The Colosseum seen from the Southeast

Dutch-born Gaspar van Wittel reached Rome aged about twenty-two in 1674, becoming part of a high-spirited, long-established group of expatriate Dutch painters known as the Bentvueghels (Dutch for ‘birds of a feather’). He married Anna Lorenzani of Rome (their eldest son was the leading eighteenth-century Italian architect Luigi Vanvitelli) and spent the rest of his life in Italy. Van Wittel played a pivotal role in the development of the genre of topographical painting known as veduta, and was an important influence on later artists such as Canaletto (1697–1768). Van Wittel’s paintings typically became treasured souvenirs for those on the high culture rite of passage known as the Grand Tour. Three other versions of this view are known, at different sizes and with different arrangements of figures, livestock and lighting. These are based on a gridded pencil, ink and watercolour sketch dated 1685 and held at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma.

(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
King Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero
Gottfried Lindauer King Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero

The Vienna-trained, Bohemian-born artist Gottfried Lindauer arrived in New Zealand in 1874, and became famous for his portraits of eminent Māori. Lindauer painted several portraits of Tūkaroto Matutaera Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Tāwhiao (c. 1825–1894), the second Māori king, based on photographs by others. This painting is based on a studio portrait taken in 1884 by Australian photographer Henry King, during King Tāwhiao’s visit to Sydney while en route to England. Tāwhiao’s goal was to meet with and gain recognition from Queen Victoria of the Treaty of Waitangi and to redress the injustice of vast confiscations of Māori land, but did not meet with success.

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
Ruth
Raymond McIntyre Ruth

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. This painting was modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Cynthia’s Birthday
Harry Linley Richardson Cynthia’s Birthday

Harry Linley Richardson was brought out to New Zealand from London in 1908 to become an art instructor at the Wellington Technical School. His design background led to New Zealand postage stamp design commissions and he became well-known for his paintings, predominantly of children and Māori subjects.

Cynthia’s Birthday, based on his own children, was exhibited in Auckland and Wellington in 1927 and Christchurch in 1928, and purchased by the Canterbury Society of Arts with funding support from the city council. One of the first paintings to be bought for the city’s intended new public art gallery, it was presented by the Society in 1932.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
A Hot Day. Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta
Charles Frederick Goldie A Hot Day. Wiremu Pātara Te Tuhi, Ngāti Mahuta

The Ngāti Mahuta chief Pātara Te Tuhi (c. 1824–1910) was a key leader in the Kīngitanga, the Māori King movement which aimed to unify Māori under a single sovereign. He was a newspaper publisher and secretary to his cousin King Tāwhiao, travelling with him to England in 1884 to seek recognition from Queen Victoria of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi signed on her behalf. Pātara Te Tuhi first met Charles Goldie in 1901 and became a favourite, regular model. He also became increasingly well- known throughout New Zealand through the widespread reproduction of his painted and photographic portraits. Goldie attended Pātara Te Tuhi’s tangi in 1910, where two reproductions of this portrait were prominently displayed.

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
A Reading from Plato
Gertrude Demain Hammond A Reading from Plato

Gertrude Demain Hammond was a prolific London illustrator who was also active in exhibiting her watercolours. A Reading from Plato was shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1903 before coming to Christchurch for the 1906–07 New Zealand International Exhibition. There it was purchased by the avid local art collector James Jamieson, who with his brother William, ran one of the city’s largest construction companies.

Following his death in 1927, James’s family presented many works of art from his collection to become part of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery’s founding collection, which at its opening in 1932 consisted of 160 paintings and sculptures.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Relaxation
Thomas Benjamin Kennington Relaxation

Thomas Benjamin Kennington’s focus as an artist was in the sympathetic depiction of the everyday reality of the poor and working classes. Born in Great Grimsby, a seaport town in England’s northeast, he studied art in Liverpool, London and Paris, and from 1880 exhibited annually at the Royal Academy, where this naturalistic workroom scene was shown in 1908.

Relaxation was exhibited at the 1911 International Exposition of Art in Rome and at the 1913 New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts exhibiton in Wellington. By 1920 it was in the hands of newspaper proprietor Robert Bell. Bell was president of the Canterbury Society of Arts from 1925–26, and bequeathed ten paintings to the gallery. (Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Teresina
Lord Frederic Leighton Teresina

Teresina was one of four works shown by the leading British painter Frederic Leighton at the Royal Academy in London in 1876. His model was a young Italian woman in Rome, to where he habitually relocated from London each autumn. The name Teresina appears in a crowded notebook list of models sketched during his stay there in 1874. Italy became Leighton’s second home. He first visited Rome aged ten in 1840, when (for his mother’s health) the family left England for the Continent, spending time Germany, Switzerland and Italy. In Rome he took his first drawing classes, and (as an early biographer noted) ‘the buildings, the fountains, the ruins, the models awaiting hire on the Piazza di Spagna, fascinated him, and he filled many sketch-books with records of all the picturesque scenes that struck him as so new and wonderful.’ Leighton remained enamoured with Rome and with travel, finding subject-matter for his ambitious, classically-themed narrative paintings from multiple tours through Europe as well as visits to North Africa and the Holy Land.

(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
Ana Reupene Whetuki and Child
Gottfried Lindauer Ana Reupene Whetuki and Child

Ana Reupene Whetuki from the Ngāti Maru iwi (tribe) was well- known in the Thames goldfields district in the Coromandel. She lived at Manaia, where her descendants still live today. Also known as Heeni Hirini and Ana Rupene, she was married to Reupene Whetuki, a Ngāti Maru rangatira (chief) who in 1881 was also listed as a gold miner and shareholder in ‘The Maori Win Gold Mining Company’. Gottfried Lindauer is known to have painted at least twelve versions of this portrait between 1878 and 1920. These were based on the photographic studio portrait by the Foy Brothers of Thames, which is also in this exhibition. Lindauer had first visited Thames in 1874 shortly after arriving in New Zealand from Bohemia (present day Czech Republic).

(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)

Collection
Nathaniel Webb, Esq., of Roundhill Grange, Charlton Musgrove, Somerset
Artist Unknown Nathaniel Webb, Esq., of Roundhill Grange, Charlton Musgrove, Somerset

Nathaniel Webb, the subject of this striking 300-year-old portrait, was a Bristol merchant who – like many of his peers in this period – is known to have made a vast fortune through West Indies sugar and slavery.

Webb’s portrait was donated in 2007 by a direct descendant, in honour of her father John Jekyll Cuddon, a respected Christchurch chartered accountant. The painting came to New Zealand with Henry Joseph C. Jekyll, who immigrated to Canterbury in 1862, and in 1880 purchased a large parcel of farmland beyond the edges of Christchurch, naming it Dallington after an old family estate.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Scene in a Tavern
Matthijs Naiveu Scene in a Tavern

Matthijs Naiveu studied under the leading seventeenth century Dutch painter Gerrit Dou (painter of The Physician). Naiveu’s tavern scene presents a moral lesson: the child implores his mother and a man who may be his father to put their intoxication aside, and give him a better chance in life.

This is one of many works presented to the Gallery by the Canterbury Society of Arts in 1932. It was bequeathed to the society by Scottish-born Major Archibald C. D. Spencer (1861–1929). Major Spencer retired from service with the Royal Irish Rifles in South Africa, Canada and Malta and settled at Mount Peel in South Canterbury.

Collection
Cottage Interior with Kitchen Maid
Gabriel Metsu, Artist Unknown Cottage Interior with Kitchen Maid

The artist for this early Dutch domestic scene is not identified, but it suggests the influence of Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667), a student of Gerrit Dou, whose painting The Physician is also in the Gallery's collection. The scene celebrates the established ideals of seventeenth-century Dutch housekeeping, with ingredients waiting and pans and utensils shining clean; everything carefully prepared and in order.

This painting entered the collection as a gift (along with twelve engravings by William Hogarth) from the estate of Frederick James Oakley, an English dental surgeon who moved to Christchurch with his wife in 1953 and died here three years later.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Girl with a Mask
William Powell Frith Girl with a Mask

Although apparently portraying a refined Venetian lady – a young woman with carnival mask, black veil and shawl – this work was painted not in Italy, but England. Yorkshire-born William Frith, who became extremely well-known for his large, densely populated panoramas of contemporary English life, also painted small costume studies early in his career, often modelled on literary figures. Frith’s model in this work, painted in 1846, strongly resembles his wife Isabelle (née Baker), whom he married in York in June 1845; Isabelle sat for him several times. Isabelle Frith became a close friend and confidante of Catherine Dickens, wife of author Charles, who (although a friend of her husband’s) she later banned from entering their London home; this following the 1858 breakup of the Dickens’ marriage. The Frith marriage was also ‘troubled’: Isabelle had 12 children to William from 1846–60; his mistress Mary Alford had six more to him from 1855. (He married Mary in 1881, a year after the death of Isabelle.)

(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
The Black Hat
George Henry The Black Hat

In about 1901, having established a strong reputation with his painting in Scotland, the Glasgow-based George Henry relocated to London, where he began to establish a successful society portrait practice.

The Black Hat – possibly the work exhibited to acclaim as ‘La dame au chapeau noir’ at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1904 – was one of twelve paintings selected in 1911 by the English artist Niels Lund to be purchased for the Canterbury Society of Arts. Its acquisition in 1912 was enabled through a newly agreed £50 annual subsidy from the Christchurch City Council; the society presented the painting to the city's new public gallery in 1932.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
A Wooded Landscape with Peasants on a Path and an Angler at a Stream
Meindert Hobbema A Wooded Landscape with Peasants on a Path and an Angler at a Stream

Meindert Hobbema’s exclusive focus on the countryside has been seen as relating to the extraordinary expansion of the Dutch nation’s towns and cities during his lifetime, which he spent in Amsterdam, and to urban art buyers’ newfound taste for idealised depictions of rural life. Although under-recognised in his own lifetime, Hobbema is now celebrated as one of the greatest landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Born a carpenter’s son and living in an orphanage at age 15, Hobbema was apprenticed two years later to the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael – his most important influence. Hobbema liked to work with a continual rearrangement of a restricted group of elements. Nearly always, a large tree dominates the composition, with everything else – smaller trees, paths, pools and streams, decaying farmhouses or watermills – carefully placed, inviting the viewer to read and enter his pictures in layers.

(The Weight of Sunlight 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
Unshatterable (Belgian Refugees)
Frances Hodgkins Unshatterable (Belgian Refugees)

The Dunedin-born Frances Hodgkins was running her own watercolour painting school in Paris when World War I broke out in 1914. She relocated to St. Ives in Cornwall, where she found many displaced Belgian families also living, and painted this work in response to their wretched plight. Unshatterable, one of her first oil paintings, was exhibited in London in 1916 and purchased by the painter Sir Cedric Morris. Dr Rodney Wilson, the Gallery’s director in 1980, visited Morris, and with assistance from the National Art Collections Fund, a British art charity, successfully secured this work for the Christchurch collection.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Bacchus and Ariadne
Jacopo Amigoni Bacchus and Ariadne

Jacopo Amigoni, who is believed to have been born in Naples or Venice, worked in Munich from 1719 as a painter at the court of Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria, before moving to London to paint for George II in 1729. Renowned as a pioneer of the Venetian Rococo style, Amigoni painted this sumptuous mythological scene during his stay in London. (Its hand-carved, contemporaneous ‘Carlo Maratta’ frame is also English-made, in a style inspired by Italian frames that reached England with returning Grand Tourists.) Smaller versions of Bacchus and Ariadne exist; including one once owned by a friend of Amigoni’s, the famous Italian castrato singer Carlo Broschi Farinelli, who also lived in London in this period. Patronage for artists such as Amigoni and Farinelli linked to the taste for Italian decorative art and high culture then prevalent among Europe’s elite. After returning to Venice in 1739, Amigoni spent his later years from 1747 in the court of King Ferdinand VI in Madrid.

(The Weight of Sunlight, 16 September 2017 - 16 September 2018)

Collection
Mrs Barbara Walker of Bowland
Sir Henry Raeburn Mrs Barbara Walker of Bowland

The 55-year-old Alexander Walker (1764–1831) and his wife Barbara (née Montgomery, 1770–1831) commissioned Scotland’s leading portraitist, Henry Raeburn, to paint their portraits in 1819. They had married eight years earlier; shortly after Alexander’s retirement from over thirty years’ service with the East India Company – mostly in India – and had two young sons. Alexander had one final Company role before him, that of Governor of St. Helena from 1823–28.

Two of their grandsons, William Campbell Walker and Alexander John Walker, immigrated to New Zealand in 1862 to farm in Canterbury; William later became Minister of Education. These impressive ancestral portraits were presented by descendants in 1984.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Dante’s Beatrice
U Biagini Dante’s Beatrice

Previously attributed to the Rome-based sculptor Alfredo Biagini, Dante’s Beatrice is now recognised as the work of a lesser-known but nevertheless highly accomplished artist U. Biagini working in Florence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Representing Beatrice, who captured the heart of the thirteenth-century Italian poet Dante Alighieri, it is a fine example of the Florentine sculptor’s idealised marble busts.

Dante’s Beatrice was given to the city through the bequest of the retired Christchurch merchant and importer John Alexander Redpath (1875–1975).

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Psyche
Auguste Rodin Psyche

Psyche, in Greek mythology, was a mortal princess whose beauty attracted the attention of Eros, the god of love, and the jealous anger of his mother Aphrodite. The renowned Parisian sculptor Auguste Rodin worked on variations on the theme of Psyche between 1886 and 1905. This bronze is a later casting, produced by the Musée Rodin at a foundry in Paris in 1961.

Psyche was purchased by the New Zealand Government in 1962 through a fund established to strengthen learning and cultural relations between New Zealand and France. After being exhibited in Christchurch in 1963, this city became the sculpture’s permanent home.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Flowers in a vase
Jan Frans van Son Flowers in a vase

The Flemish artist Jan Frans van Son came from an artistic family; his father, Joris van Son, was also a respected painter. During the sixteenth century the demand for artists to paint flower subjects – particularly rare and exotic blooms – mirrored the increased enthusiasm for the cultivation of flowers in Holland. By the seventeenth century, still-life flower painting had become a major genre in Dutch painting, and it was at this that van Son excelled. He relocated to England as a young man around 1675 where he established himself as a highly successful painter renowned for his flower paintings.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Collection
Soldiers in a Village
Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot Soldiers in a Village

Between 1618 and 1648, Europe was thrown into turmoil by the Thirty Years’ War – a bitter conflict that raged between Catholic and Protestant states. It was renowned for the vicious fighting often brought about by the large mercenary armies employed on both sides. Here, Droochsloot depicts the confiscations and pillaging by mercenary soldiers as they drive Dutch villagers from their homes.

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Collection
The Age of innocence
Alfred Drury The Age of innocence

Modelled by Alfred Drury after a friend’s daughter in fancy dress, this wistful bronze bust is one of many variations of The Age of Innocence he made between 1897 and 1918; some in white marble. It is regarded as an important work in the British New Sculpture movement, whose followers sought either greater naturalism or symbolic qualities than had been found in the prevailing neoclassical approach.

Brought from England to Christchurch for the 1906–07 New Zealand International Exhibition, it was purchased by the Canterbury Society of Arts, and presented to the city in 1932 to become part of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery’s founding collection.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Suzette
Raymond McIntyre Suzette

Arriving in London in 1909, the Christchurch-born and trained Raymond McIntyre soon gained a reputation there for his small, pared-back landscapes and studies of female heads, painted in an elegant, simplified, Japanese woodblock inspired style. These three paintings were modelled on an actor and dancer who became his principal muse from 1912, sometimes mentioned in his letters home: “The girl who is sitting for me a lot now, Sylvia Constance Cavendish… has a very refined interesting pale face… I have done some very good work from her… she is quite a find.”

McIntyre died in London in 1933. Seven of his works were given by his family between 1938 and 1991.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Brigadier-General Alexander Walker of Bowland
Sir Henry Raeburn Brigadier-General Alexander Walker of Bowland

The 55-year-old Alexander Walker (1764–1831) and his wife Barbara (née Montgomery, 1770–1831) commissioned Scotland’s leading portraitist, Henry Raeburn, to paint their portraits in 1819. They had married eight years earlier; shortly after Alexander’s retirement from over thirty years’ service with the East India Company – mostly in India – and had two young sons. Alexander had one final Company role before him, that of Governor of St. Helena from 1823–28.

Two of their grandsons, William Campbell Walker and Alexander John Walker, immigrated to New Zealand in 1862 to farm in Canterbury; William later became Minister of Education. These impressive ancestral portraits were presented by descendants in 1984.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
A View in Cologne with St. Gereon's Basilica
Gerrit Adriaenszoon Berckheyde A View in Cologne with St. Gereon's Basilica

Gerrit Berckheyde’s contribution to the Dutch Golden Age of painting was as an exponent of the cityscape, which became a new genre from the mid seventeenth-century. Berckheyde was Haarlem-based, and began producing paintings of Cologne in about 1670, from sketches made in the 1650s. He painted a series of works depicting St. Gereon’s Basilica, a large and distinctive Romanesque style church completed in the thirteenth century.

This painting was purchased through a significant bequest made in 1953 from an insurance settlement from the estate of William Ballantyne (1864–1934), whose art collection had been largely destroyed in the 1947 Ballantyne’s department store fire.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Collection
Panier de Raisins
Henri Fantin-Latour Panier de Raisins

Although he exhibited alongside the Impressionist artists at the Salon de Refusés in 1863, Fantin-Latour was very much an academic painter who continues to be widely admired for his still-life paintings of flowers and fruit. He had a studio in Paris but would travel with his wife and fellow painter Victoria Dubourg to their country cottage at Buré in Lower Normandy during the summer months, where their garden provided a wide choice of flowers and fruit to paint. Fantin-Latour enjoyed painting in a studio environment, hence his liking of still-life subjects, where he had more control over conditions such as lighting and compositional arrangements. He once said he had “…a horror of movement, of animated scenes, and the difficulty of painting in the open air with the sun and the shade.”

(New Dawn Fades, November 2018)

Notes
Belgian Refugees by Frances Hodgkins

Belgian Refugees by Frances Hodgkins

This article first appeared in The Press on 28 February 2007

Belgian Refugees is one of the first oil paintings that Frances Hodgkins ever exhibited, although at the time she was already well accustomed to showing her watercolours. Working in oils and tempera on canvas, she used an experimental technique in this work that gained much from her experience with watercolour. Believed to have been first shown as Unshatterable, in October 1916 at the International Society's Autumn Exhibition in London, the choice of title would suggest a greater sense of resilience than is actually conveyed by this family group. Here only the baby is oblivious to trouble, while his nursing mother seems devoid of expression, and the older children tense with anxiety or fear. Behind the group, a gap in the swirling grey suggests the fact of a missing father, and this steam and smoke speaks of displacement, the atmospheric backdrop of a train station or the symbolic clouds of war. Within the wall of monochrome, intense colour is reserved for mother and child, who also remind of one of Hodgkins' favourite early choices of subject matter in watercolour.