- c. 1936
- Oil on canvas
- Purchased 1951
- 895 x 692mm
Born in Christchurch and trained at the Canterbury College School of Art from 1891–99, Elizabeth Kelly was the leading local portrait painter of her generation. She frequently exhibited her works overseas to considerable recognition and acclaim. In the 1930s her portraits won medals and awards at the Royal Academy in London and at the Paris Salon, and they were shown widely in England, Scotland, Paris and New York.
This portrait, one of Kelly’s typical 'society' portraits of fashionable young women, was shown in London in 1937 and 1939. The subject is Margaret Hatherley, who modelled several times for Kelly after being ‘spotted’ working in a Christchurch department store. Depicted with fishing tackle bag and rod, and with a tent as backdrop, this elegant young woman is presented here to suggest the pursuits of the English leisured classes.
In 1938 Kelly became the first New Zealand woman to receive the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) award for her services to art. Margaret is an excellent example of Kelly’s academic portrait style, and carries a sense of assurance and sophistication that is rarely seen in New Zealand portraiture.