Gerard Kingsley Webber

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1889, d.1917

The Life Class - A Sketch Club Night

  • Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
  • Oil on canvas
  • 623 x 728mm
  • 70/53
  • c. 1913

Gerard Webber is thought to have painted this scene during a sketch club night at the Langham Club London. Typical of the day, the class is dominated by male students. Subdued interior studies such as this were common and, although slightly sketchy in treatment, Webber has accurately captured the details in the room and the effects of the falling light in the foreground.

This work was presented to the Canterbury Society of Arts by Webber’s father, Alfred, in 1919. Webber was born in Auckland and attended the Elam School of Art 1905 – 1909, and was a student of Archibald Nicoll before coming to Christchurch in 1909 to attend classes at the Canterbury College School of Art. He also regularly taught art at the Ashburton Technical School from 1910.

He was awarded the Brangwyn Scholarship to study at the Slade School of Art in London in 1912 and returned to Auckland before travelling to London in 1913 to begin studies at the Slade and the London School of Art. He also joined the Langham Sketch Club. At the outbreak of WWI Webber enlisted with the British Armed Forces (10th Royal Fusiliers). He served in the artillery unit on the Western Front where he was wounded at Beaucourt on 14 November 1916. He was invalided to a military hospital in Manchester where he died on 2 February 1917. During his time in Christchurch Webber lived at Sumner and being a keen golfer became a competitive member of the Richmond Golf Club.

earlier labels about this work
  • Gerard Webber painted this scene at a sketch club meeting at the Canterbury College School of Art. Typical of the day, the class is dominated by male students. Subdued interior studies such as this were common and, although slightly sketchy in treatment, Webber has accurately captured the details in the room and the effects of the falling light in the foreground. This work was presented to the Canterbury Society of Arts by Webber’s father, Alfred, in 1919.

    Webber was born in Auckland and attended the Elam School of Art before studying at the Canterbury College School of Art from 1910 to 1913. He was awarded the Brangwyn Scholarship to study at the Slade School of Art in London c.1914 but enlisted with the British Armed Forces (10th Royal Fusiliers). Webber served on the Western Front where he was wounded at Beaucourt in November 1916. He was invalided to a military hospital in Manchester where he died.