E. Mervyn Taylor

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1906, d.1964

Tauhou Feeding Chick

  • 1943
  • Wood engraving on paper
  • Purchased 1993
  • 110 x 138mm
  • 93/54

Aotearoa’s best-known and respected printmaker working during the twentieth century, Mervyn Taylor produced at least 239 wood-engravings over the course of his career, and many more linocuts as well. He initially worked as a jeweller, for which his training included engraving. Unlike his contemporaries who trained at art schools throughout the country and abroad, Mervyn was self-taught. His prints focused on subjects that were unique to Aotearoa at a time when a national identity was at the forefront of Pākehā art, including elements from Māori culture as well as landscapes and native flora and fauna. His wood-engravings remain popular and are highly sought after.

Ink on Paper: Aotearoa New Zealand Printmakers of the Modern Era, 11 February – 28 May 2023

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • The Golden Age 18 December 2015 – 1 May 2016

    Mervyn Taylor was one of the few New Zealand artists to successfully work with the wood engraving medium during the 20th century, reflecting the medium’s revival in England at the time. Initially trained as a jeweller’s engraver, he made a successful transition to wood engraving, one of the most difficult print mediums to master, and produced work that focused on Māori and New Zealand subject matter. Taylor was born in Auckland. In 1952 he was awarded the Association of New Zealand Art Societies Scholarship, which allowed him to study Māori life and culture in Te Kaha in the eastern Bay of Plenty. He was elected a member of the Society of Illustrators, New York, in 1950 and a fellow of the Institute of Arts and Letters, Linau, in 1953. Taylor held a solo exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in New York in 1954, and his work was included in the First International Biennale of Prints in Tokyo in 1957.