Louise Henderson

France / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1902, d.1994

Governors Bay

  • 1938
  • Oil on canvas board
  • Dame Louise Henderson Collection presented by the McKegg Family, 1999
  • 544 x 651mm
  • 99/77
  • View on google maps

Louise Henderson was born Louise Etiennette Sidonie Sauze in Paris in 1902. After studying embroidery design in her late teens, she worked in this field for several years while also writing for textile and interior decoration journals. In 1925, she moved to Christchurch with her New Zealand-born husband, and the following year she began teaching needlework and design at the Canterbury College School of Art. Henderson brought a fresh influence and energy to Christchurch art circles, distinguishing herself at first in local exhibitions with her fine embroidery designs. Before long she was also prolific in showing her landscape paintings, which, like this lyrical view of Te Whakaraupō / Lyttelton Harbour, were appreciated for their harmonious colour and feeling for rhythmic pattern and form.

(Te Wheke, 2020)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Louise Henderson: From Life, 27 June – 11 October 2020

    Governors Bay is one of several paintings Henderson made of Lyttelton Harbour. Her vantage point is high on the Summit Road, looking down over the steep-sided volcanic hills meeting the sea below. A tiny single-masted sailing boat gives a sense of the scale of the view. Henderson simplifies and flattens the landforms, outlining curvilinear shapes which she stacks up on one another. Elements of Governors Bay anticipate the abstraction of forms and patterns from the landscape that Henderson would return to nearly fifty years later.

  • Picturing the Peninsula, 21 April - 22 July 2007

    Governors Bay, known also as Ohinetahi, lies at the head of Lyttelton Harbour / Whakaraupō and was once the site of a major Ngati Mamoe pā that was captured by the Ngai Tahu chief Te Rangi Whakaputa around 300 years ago. Ohinetahi was named by Te Rangi Whakaputa’s son, Manuwhiri, who fathered many sons but only one daughter. Ohinetahi means the place of one daughter and it is also from this area that Lyttelton Harbour gets its name. Whakaraupō means the harbour of the raupo reed which grew in abundance at Ohinetahi.

    Louise Henderson moved to Christchurch with her husband in 1925 where she became an active member of the arts community. She painted regularly in Lyttelton harbour and in 1938 completed several paintings of Governors Bay.