Olivia Spencer Bower

England / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1905, d.1982

Harbour, Akaroa

Olivia Spencer Bower was often drawn to coastal settings, and painted this lively composition at a moment when she was responding with fresh eyes to the Aotearoa New Zealand landscape.After two and a half years’ study and painting in England and Europe, returning at the end of 1931, she had successfully exhibited her European work. Turning now to the local environment, newspaper reviews at the time show she was soon noticed as “one of the younger generation […] whose art shows every possibility of developing into something distinctively New Zealand in character”; and for the “brilliance and verve and a feeling of assured spontaneity” of her work.

(Te Wheke, 2020)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Picturing the Peninsula, 21 April - 22 July 2007

    Akaroa has long been a favoured retreat for Christchurch’s citizens and is equally popular with out of town tourists. Its close proximity to the city makes it an easily accessible haven from the hectic bustle of city life. Many of the towns historic buildings have survived which give the town and the centre of Akaroa is now registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a national Historic Area.

    Olivia Spencer Bower often painted out in the open and had a very vibrant approach to her work. In Harbour, Akaroa she seemingly revels in the peaceful summer setting of Akaroa and the tranquil view across the harbour.