- Donated from the Canterbury Public Library Collection, 2001
- 600 x 920mm
Olivia Spencer Bower often stayed at Enys, a high country mountain hut located between the Craigieburn and Torlesse ranges. It was owned by her friend Minta Brittan, whose great-nieces visited her there in the summer, and this delicate watercolour depicts one of the girls preparing to dive into a mountain stream. “Olivia was always very coy about her paintings,” another of the grand-nieces, Jenny Abramson, recalled. “She never showed us what she was doing – although we probably didn't show much interest.” Spencer Bower relished the portability and immediacy of the watercolour medium, which enabled her to work directly in the landscape, and also enjoyed its fluidity and unpredictability. Born in England, Spencer Bower’s family came to New Zealand in 1920, and she studied at the Canterbury College School of Art before attending the Slade School of Art in London in 1929. She returned to New Zealand in 1931. She devoted her life to painting and, late in her life, established a Foundation which finances an annual scholarship enabling an artist to work full time for one year.
(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)