W. Matthew Hale

British, b.1837, d.1929

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster

  • Watercolour
  • Presented to the Canterbury Society of Arts, by Sir John Hall 1907; given to the Gallery, 1932
  • 810 x 1050mm
  • 69/352
  • View on google maps

W. Matthew Hale was a respected Bristol-based landscape painter. His atmospheric watercolour of the Houses of Parliament in London at sunset was one of the first pictures sold at the 1906–07 New Zealand International Exhibition. Its buyer was former New Zealand Premier Sir John Hall, who served as Christchurch’s honorary mayor during the exhibition, and promptly presented it to the Canterbury Society of Arts. This gift offers an interesting reflection on the global influence of British politics and culture in this period, just before New Zealand ended its constitutional status as a colony.

Ship Nails and Tail Feathers, 10 June – 22 October 2023

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • W. Matthew Hale has here painted one of the world’s most notable views, looking across the River Thames towards the Houses of Parliament, at Westminster. The work was exhibited at the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906-1907 in Christchurch. Trained as an academic painter, Hale painted this large watercolour in his studio, working from sketches he made out of doors. He has expertly overlaid broad washes of watercolours on wet paper to convey the hazy atmospheric conditions of the evening light in the distance, while painting the foreground barges with more care and detail. Born in Bristol, Hale was taught by James Harding (1798-1863) and William Collingwood Smith (1848-1922). Hale lived in London until the early 1900s when he returned to base himself in Bristol, though he travelled widely throughout Europe. Hale specialised in marine scapes. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and with the Old Watercolour Society. He was elected an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1871. (Label date unknown)