- Purchased, 1996
- Oil on canvas
- 550 x 480 x 95mm
Twenty-five-year-old Samuel Butler reached Canterbury from England in January 1860, and in his four and a half years here lived as a high country sheep farmer. From his remote sheep station in the Upper Rangitata, he also started writing Erewhon; or, Over the Range – the fantastical novel that would establish his literary reputation. Regular visits into Christchurch included receiving hospitality from this portrait’s subject, John Parker Marshman, and his wife Caroline. Butler painted this portrait in 1861, the year before Marshman left Christchurch to become Canterbury Province Emigration Agent in London. His role included screening the suitability of settlers and overseeing the outfitting and construction of emigrant ships; he also published two books on the essentials of Canterbury settler life. Marshman returned to New Zealand to become Canterbury’s first general manager of railways in 1868.
(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)