Margaret Stoddart

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1865, d.1934

Blossom, Worcester St Bridge

About the artist

Stoddart, Margaret Olrog (Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1865, d.1934)

Margaret Stoddart, from The Weekly Press 9 June 1909

Margaret Stoddart developed a considerable reputation in New Zealand for her plein air landscapes and flower paintings. She was a founding member of Christchurch’s Palette Club in 1889, promoting plein-air painting with its members. Blossom, Worcester St Bridge is a view of the Avon river, looking upstream, and reveals Stoddart’s interest in recording the effects of bright sunlight on trees, water and architecture. Freely applied washes of watercolour contrast strongly with the vivid white gouache used for the blossoms, capturing the intensity of the light.

Born at Diamond Harbour, near Christchurch, Margaret Stoddart received part of her early education in Edinburgh, Scotland. Returning to New Zealand aged 14, she was an early student at the newly opened Canterbury College School of Fine Art. In 1897 she travelled again to England where she saw the works of the English Impressionists and the plein-air paintings of the artists working with the Newlyn School in Cornwell. Having already achieved some success for her own painting with works hung at the Royal Academy in London and at the Paris Salon, Margaret Stoddart returned to New Zealand in 1906 and, apart from a trip to Australia and Tahiti in about 1926, she remained there for the rest of her life.

(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)

earlier labels about this work
  • Nature's Own Voice, 6 February – 26 July 2009

    Stoddart developed a considerable reputation in New Zealand for her pleinair watercolours. She was a founding member of Christchurch’s Palette Club in1889, promoting plein-air painting with its members. In Blossom, Worcester St Bridge it is evident that one of Stoddart’s primary interests is the direct recording of the vibrant effects of bright sunlight upon the scene. Freely applied washes of watercolour contrast strongly with the vivid white gouache used for the blossoms,capturing the intensity of the sunlight on the scene as experienced by the artist.

  • Born at Diamond Harbour, near Christchurch, Margaret Stoddart received part of her early education in Edinburgh, Scotland. Returning to New Zealand in 1880, she was an early student at the newly opened Canterbury College School of Fine Art.

    In 1897 she travelled again to England where she saw the works of the English Impressionists and the plein-air paintings of the artists working with the Newlyn School in Cornwell. Having already achieved some success for her own painting with works hung at the Royal Academy in London and at the Paris Salon, Margaret Stoddart returned to Christchurch in 1906.

    Here she became best known for her studies of flowers, which were painted with free watercolour washes and for her plein-air landscapes. Both these elements are well displayed in this painting which shows the bank of the Avon river looking upstream to the Worcester Street bridge. The watercolour is applied boldly, with free washes, and the lines are applied in vigorous broad strokes. Gouache, and opaque watercolour, has been used on the luxuriant blossoms which are contrasted with the solid gray forms of the bridge.

    This is an example of Margaret Stoddart's mature style and shows her robust and deft handling of the fluid watercolour washes. In 1929 the Christchurch art critic, Professor Shelley, wrote of her works: "She surprises us anew every year in her strongly biting grip on the essential of things."