Robert Field Procter

Scotland / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1879, d.1931

Sunny Italy

  • 1910
  • Oil on canvas
  • Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
  • 720 x 894mm
  • 69/507

Robert Procter’s ‘Sunny Italy’ captures the warmth and gentle pace of Italian marketplace transactions. Three women, one possibly a seller, discuss the fruit and vegetables on display, while the vendor parcels up what may be raspberries. Procter’s own principal market was at home in New Zealand, where he found ready buyers for his supply of amiable Italian scenes. He showed eight Italian works at the Canterbury Society of Arts exhibition in 1910; three, including this, were bought by the society itself. Trained and based in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Procter had spent many years in Europe after further studies in Paris and Antwerp, and was especially drawn to Italy, where he was at the outbreak of World War I. He returned to teach at the Elam School of Art in Auckland in 1915.

(Leaving for Work, 2 October 2021 - 1 May 2022)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Canvas awnings provide necessary shade for the produce on sale at this market in Rome. The reflection of the light off the awnings and the deep shadows that they cast would have attracted Robert Procter because of his interest in painting the effects of light on outdoor scenes. Procter worked on his finished canvases in the studio from studies he had sketched out of doors, rather than painting directly before nature. He used broad brushwork and a light colourful palette.

    Born in Scotland, Procter arrived in Christchurch in 1887. He studied at the Canterbury College School of Art, as well as being a pupil of Petrus van der Velden (1837-1913). He went on to become an instructor at the College but between 1904 and 1906 he visited Europe, studying in Paris and Antwerp. On his return, Procter lived in Christchurch until 1916 when he moved to teach at the Elam School of Art in Auckland. In 1928 he moved to Melbourne where he died. (Label date unknown)