Archibald Nicoll

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1886, d.1953

Bruce Hotel, Akaroa

  • Donated by Ailsa, John, Colin and Ross Gregory, 2006
  • Watercolour
  • 454 x 585mm
  • 2006/010
  • View on google maps

Akaroa Harbour was one of Archibald Nicoll’s favourite locations to paint. He frequently travelled to the Hilltop and beyond to Akaroa with his wife and son to combine holidays with sketching opportunities. This plein air study is of the Bruce Hotel, which was one of the earliest hotels in Canterbury.

Although better known for his skill as an oil painter, Nicoll was also an accomplished watercolourist and enjoyed working with the medium outdoors directly before the landscape.

Born in Lincoln, on the outskirts of Christchurch, Nicoll began evening classes at the Canterbury College School of Art in 1905 while working for the Union Steamship Company Office. By 1908 he was an assistant art master at the Elam School of Art and Design in Auckland. He later studied in London and Edinburgh. Following war service, Nicoll was appointed director of the Canterbury College School of Art in 1919. In 1947 he was awarded an OBE for services to art.