- Purchased with the assistance of the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust and the Friends of the Christchurch Art Gallery, 2004/5
- Acrylic on fabric wallpaper
- 1370 x 1320mm
For the exhibition Wunderbox (28 November 2008 - 15 February 2009), this work was displayed with the following label.
Bill Hammond led one of the most influential tendencies in New Zealand painting of the late 1990s – Post-colonial Gothic. Shag Pile is one of his many paintings inspired by nineteenth-century campaigns to catalogue New Zealand’s dwindling native species, in particular the efforts of Walter Lowry Buller. The contradictions of Buller’s character – a recorder and chronicler of birds who killed and stuffed many – have made him a figure of fascination not only for Hammond but also for sculptor Warren Viscoe and playwright Nick Drake. In Shag Pile, Buller’s campaign plays out like a bad dream projected on the patterned walls of a claustrophobic Victorian parlour, where New Zealand spotted shags are heaped, laid out for processing, and sealed under bell jars.