Elizabeth Kelly

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1877, d.1946


  • c. 1897
  • Plaster
  • Gift of the artist's great niece, Margaret Abbott, 2014
  • 595 x 410 x 240mm
  • 2014/001

Elizabeth Kelly (née Abbott) made this sculptural portrait bust while at the Canterbury College School of Art, where she studied from 1891–1901. She won regular prizes for her modelling from life, including at the 1906–07 Christchurch International Exhibition. Kelly later became one of New Zealand’s leading society portrait painters, in the 1930s showing her work in exhibitions in London, Edinburgh and Paris.

Laura was modelled on the artist’s younger sister, Laura Maude Cox (née Abbott, 1884–1957). One of the earliest sculptures in the collection by a New Zealand born artist, it is a recent gift to the city from Margaret Abbott, a great-niece of the two sisters.

(Treasury: A Generous Legacy, 18 December 2015 – 27 November 2016)

Exhibition History