Colin S. Lovell-Smith

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1894, d.1960

Sunset, Craigieburn

Colin Lovell-Smith often went on painting trips to this area with his wife Rata, who was also a landscape painter. Craigieburn is in the Southern Alps, about 100 kilometres northwest of Christchurch. Although set beside a small riverbed close to the main road, the painting focuses on the steep eroded slopes of the Craigieburn Range. Lovell-Smith has paid close attention to the landform details, capturing the distinctive qualities of the Canterbury mountain region. Shades of ochre are subtly orchestrated with the soft grey of the predominant greywacke rocks. Born in Christchurch, Lovell-Smith studied at the Canterbury College School of Art then worked for his father’s printing business. During World War I Lovell-Smith was with the Royal Engineers on the Balkan Front and was subsequently awarded the Serbian Gold Medal of Merit for his work. On his return to Christchurch in 1919 he taught, first at St Andrew’s College, then at the School of Art, of which he was Director from 1947 until his death.

earlier labels about this work
  • Colin Lovell Smith often went on painting trips to the Castle Hill, Flock Hill, Broken Hill and Craigieburn areas with wife Rata, who was also a painter. Craigieburn is on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps about 100kms north west of Christchurch.

    Sunset, Craigieburn has been painted after one of those trips. Set beside a small riverbed close to the main road, it focuses on the steep eroded slopes of the Craigieburn range where the late afternoon sun is just catching the dramatic ridge line. Those who know the area well immediately recognise Lovell Smith's accuracy and close attention to the landform details. Landform, ground cover and light are all so faithfully depicted that the viewer sometimes misses the compositional skills with which the painting is put together.

    Colin Lovell Smith painted Sunset, Craigieburn in 1932 and exhibited it that year at the Canterbury College School of Arts Annual Exhibition. He was at that time a tutor at the Canterbury College School of Art teaching design, life drawing and anatomy.

    Born in Christchurch, he had studied at the School of Art and, prior to war service in the army 1914 - 18, worked as a commercial artist in his father's printing business. Returning to Christchurch he taught, for a while, at St Andrew's College before joining the staff at the Canterbury College School of Art in 1927. In 1947 he became the Director of the College, a position he held until his death in 1960.