Betty Harrison

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1912, d.1937

Persimmon (Study of a Racehorse)

  • Gift of J.H. McGregor, 2008
  • Painted plaster
  • 730 x 300 x 860mm
  • 2008/011
  • c. 1930

Nora Elizabeth (Betty) Harrison grew up in rural Canterbury, where she developed a passion for horses. She brought her knowledge of horses to creating this plaster sculpture, painted to resemble bronze. It is believed to have been modelled after a photograph of a famous stud racehorse owned by King Edward VII.

Harrison was at the Canterbury College School of Art when she made this work. A top student there in the 1920s while in her teenage years, she studied there until 1930 and then went into nursing. Tragically, she caught tuberculosis from a patient and died aged just twenty-five.

(Beasts, 2015)