Nicholas Chevalier

Russia / Australia, b.1828, d.1902

Untitled (Southland)

  • 1866
  • Watercolour
  • Purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat bequest, 1990
  • 370 x 510 x 20mm
  • 90/26

Brought to light, November 2009- 22 February 2011

In 1865 the Otago Provincial Council commissioned the Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Chevalier to travel throughout the Otago region making pictorial studies of the landscape. Along with his assistant, Ebenezer Wake Cook, he travelled on horseback for four months during the summer of 1865-6, completing extensive sketches of the province which were later used as the basis for larger, more detailed paintings. While these larger works were exhibited, the Otago Provincial Council’s motivation for the commission was the promotion of the region, and Chevalier’s images were primarily used to encourage settlement and investment.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • In 1865 Nicholas Chevalier and his artist assistant, Ebenezer Wake Cook, travelled on horseback for four months through Southland and Otago. Chevalier probably completed this work during the early stage of the journey, possibly in the Pomahaka Valley. The Otago Provincial Council gave him £200 towards a pictorial study of the region.

    Chevalier worked in a precise academic manner with a concern for detail. His style has elements of romanticism, particularly evident in his landscapes.

    Chevalier was born in St Petersburg, Russia but in 1845 the family left Russia for Lausanne, Switzerland. There he studied painting. He later studied architecture in Munich and London. In 1854 Chevalier went to Melbourne and from 1855 to 1861 he was cartoonist for the Melbourne Punch. He was a founding member of the Victoria Society of Fine Arts. In March 1866 Chevalier left Otago and began a similar journey through Canterbury. He returned to England in 1870.

    (Watercolour rotation, 2006)