Jacqueline Fahey

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1929

Speedy's Return

For the exhibition Jacqueline Fahey: Say Something! (22 November 2017 – 11 March 2018) this work was displayed with the following label:

Fahey’s husband, the noted psychiatrist Fraser McDonald, held positions at a number of institutions throughout New Zealand, and they raised their three daughters in a series of houses on hospital grounds. In Porirua, the gardens were overseen by a patient, Mr Quickly (also known as Speedy), who had studied at Kew Gardens in England and worked on a royal estate. He supplied the family with a steady supply of produce and fresh flowers. Fahey recalled that she could cope with the flowers but that the fruit and vegetables, which he clearly expected her to make into preserves, showed up her shortcomings as a ‘proper’ doctor’s wife. When the family moved to Kingseat Hospital, near Auckland, Mr Quickly came with them. This painting, a study in warm autumnal colours and dappled shadows, celebrates what Fahey described as 'the light he brought into all of our lives'.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • 1969 Comeback Special, 27 August – 6 November 2016

    Jacqueline Fahey once said of this painting, “Speedy’s Return is about our gardener at Kingseat. He was away, and this painting celebrates the happiness his return brought to us. It is a study in light which represents Speedy’s ability to light up our world.” Fahey lived at Kingseat Hospital in Auckland when her husband, the psychiatrist Fraser McDonald, was medical superintendent there during the late 1960s and 1970s. Fahey’s paintings often have a psychological complexity about them, and in Speedy’s Return the child and old man stare directly at the viewer while another figure stands with their back to us. Muir acquired Speedy’s Return from The Group Show in 1973. (1969 Comeback Special 27 August – 6 November 2016)