William Howard Holmes

Aotearoa New Zealand / British, b.1825, d.1885

Akaroa, from the cemetery, looking N.E.

  • 1852
  • Ink, pencil and wash
  • Purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat bequest, 1987
  • 305 x 510mm
  • 87/27
  • View on google maps

In this drawing William Holmes presents an accurate visual record of the small town of Akaroa, where French colonists settled in 1840. The view depicts the heavily forested hills that once surrounded the township while the establishment of pasture for grazing is also evident in the presence of fence lines and sheep. By the end of the 19th century large tracts of native forest on Banks Peninsula had been removed for timber. Akaroa, from the Cemetery, looking N.E. is a typical topographical landscape. Little is known of Holmes’ work, but his images of Lyttelton and Akaroa provide an important historical insight into both towns at the early stages of their development. Holmes arrived in Lyttelton in 1851. A qualified teacher with an interest in art and music, he was employed by the Canterbury Association to teach at the Lyttelton Collegiate Grammar School and also held evening classes. In 1852 Holmes moved to Wellington. He was drawing master at Abel Smith Street School from 1866 to 1867 and at Wellington College from 1875 to 1881.

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