Evelyn Page

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1899, d.1988

The Old Bookshop, Christchurch

  • Purchased, 1983
  • Oil on canvas board
  • 540 x 360mm
  • 83/82
  • 1922

As a student, Evelyn Polson lived in the suburb of Sydenham and would have passed seven bookshops walking along Colombo Street to the School of Art. She recalled in an interview: “I used to browse in an old bookshop - second-hand - smelling of musty books.” It is likely this was McCormack’s secondhand bookshop on the corner of Hazeldean Road. The interior view is accurately observed and faithfully recorded, reflecting Page’s training at the Canterbury College School of Art. Page (née Polson) was born in Christchurch and studied at the Canterbury College School of Art. A working member of the Canterbury Society of Arts, in 1927 she also joined other young Canterbury artists in The Group, formed to give artists greater control over showing their work. Page spent a year in Britain in 1937 and on her return married composer Frederick Page. In 1947 they moved to Wellington. In 1966, while travelling on a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Grant, Page attended the Kokoschka school at Salzburg.

Read an article about this work that appeared in the Christchurch Press