Charles Decimus Barraud

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1822, d.1897

Lake Horowhenua

Charles Barraud visited the Maori pa at Lake Horowhenua, a freshwater coastal lake near present-day Levin, in 1864. A London-born pharmacist, Barraud arrived in New Zealand with his family in 1849 and established a chemist shop in Lambton Quay, Wellington. As his business prospered, he travelled throughout New Zealand to sketch and paint.

Barraud’s watercolour record of the Muaupoko iwi settlement at the edge of the lake includes a prominently positioned pataka (storehouse), painted with kura (natural red earth pigment). Lake Horowhenua was once a treasured source of food (mainly eels, whitebait, flounder and shellfish) for its Maori owners.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Lake Horowhenua is in the North Island. Charles Barraud has painted the edges of a Māori pā bathed in early morning or evening light. The prominent pātaka (storehouse), with its red ochre painted maihi (bargeboards), suggests a settled way of life. At the same time, the pā’s high palisade posts acknowledge the possibility of danger from outside. Barraud won early recognition as an artist in New Zealand and his paintings from 1850 onwards are of considerable historical value. He worked mostly in watercolours but also produced a few oils. Barraud was born in London and was qualified as a chemist. Along with his wife, six sons and three daughters, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1849 and established himself with a shop in Lambton Quay, Wellington. His business prospered and he travelled to all parts of New Zealand to sketch and paint. When his pharmacy was destroyed by fire for the second time, in 1887, he retired and devoted himself fully to art. (Label from 2005)