Viola Macmillan Brown Notariello

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1897, d.1981

Across the Plains

  • Gifted to the Gallery by Antonietta Baldacchino and Felicity Brichieri-Colombi, 2007
  • Oil on canvas
  • 610 x 512mm
  • 2007/011
  • 1931

Painted in morning light, evidently in spring, this attractive view captures the semi-rural outskirts of Christchurch from the lower slopes of the Huntsbury foothills, looking north towards distant Mount Grey. The painting’s elevated vantage point, together with its soft, restricted palette and decorative qualities link it to the work of artists such as Rhona Haszard and Sydney Lough Thompson.

Viola Macmillan Brown Notariello was born in Christchurch in 1897, the daughter of Professor John Macmillan Brown and Helen Connon. She studied at Canterbury College School of Art from c.1915-1922, together with her friend Evelyn Page and close relative Ngaio Marsh. After graduating, she exhibited in Christchurch from the late 1920s with The Group. She emigrated after meeting an Italian tenor on tour in New Zealand with Dame Nellie Melba, and they married in England in 1936. She continued her art studies in Europe and exhibited occasionally in England.