- Christchurch Art Gallery Trust Collection
- 255 x 355mm
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About the artist
Margaret Stoddart, from The Weekly Press 9 June 1909
For the exhibition Picturing the Peninsula (21 April - 22 July 2007), this work was displayed with this label:
Diamond Harbour lies on the South side of Lyttelton harbour across from the town of Lyttelton between Purau Bay and Charteris Bay. It was named by the artist’s father, Mark Stoddart, from “the glitter of the sun-track on the water, always very noticeable from that side of the harbour.” This view chosen by Margaret Stoddart looks out across Diamond Harbour from above the wharf and is in the artist’s mature style being completed soon after her return home in 1907 after studying art abroad.
Stoddart was born and grew up in Diamond Harbour where her father had settled in 1851. She regularly painted in the region and often incorporated flowers into the landscape such as the blossoms seen in this work.
Related reading: Margaret Stoddart: Nature's Artist, Te Wheke
A 36-metre painting by artist Kelcy Taratoa is part of a new exhibition opening at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū on Saturday.
There is a gorgeous new addition on the side of Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Artist Kelcy Taratoa has created a wall work to replace Kay Rosen’s Here Are the People and There Is the Steeple, which was in place for eight years. Its title is Te Tāhū o ngā Maunga Tūmatakahuki (see below for an explanation) and it was created in association with our soon-to-be-revealed exhibition Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania. The exhibition’s themes of exploration, belonging and connection were a starting point for Taratoa’s thinking, and he worked with the support of mana whenua, including Nathan Pohio, to ground the work in local narratives that relate to discovery and whakapapa.
A vast painting by Kelcy Taratoa about how we are bound together.
An immersive exhibition that explores art through our connections with the Pacific will be unveiled at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū on 30 May.
Aotearoa New Zealand is part of a submerged Pacific continent, which broke away from the Gondwana supercontinent millions of years ago to create two major islands – Te Ika a Māui / the North Island and Te Waipounamu / the South Island.
Welcome – nau mai haere mai. Kei Te Ararau o Tangaroa / Pathways Across Oceania is an attempt to understand the Gallery’s collection from the perspective of our place in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean. Full of stories of migration, connection and belonging, this huge new exhibition reflects the connections and tensions that shape our past, present and future.
Artists from Aotearoa New Zealand are often well-travelled. Feeling the distance of Aotearoa from the world’s centres of art, they have often been drawn overseas to study and work, contributing to the art history of their adopted countries as well as this one.
Hawaiki is the ancient homeland of Polynesian people who navigated the seas in double-hulled waka from Rarotonga, Tahiti and Ra’iātea to the islands of the Pacific Ocean, including Aotearoa New Zealand.
From a present-day perspective, the appropriation of customary Māori art forms and practice by Pākehā artists can be disconcerting, a more-than-awkward crossing of cultural lines.
The Māori whakataukī or proverb “He toka tū moana” uses the image of a rock that stands firmly in the ocean to describe someone steadfast and strong in their culture or beliefs, who defies all opposition.
In te ao Māori, the state of a space when cleared of obstruction is called ātea. This concept was brought to Aotearoa New Zealand from the islands of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa / the Pacific Ocean by Polynesian ancestors.
The islands of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa / the Pacific were settled by remarkable ocean voyagers over many thousands of years. Aotearoa New Zealand was peopled through major waves of migration from the 1200s and later the mid-1800s. The seas of Oceania are like vast pathways; ever-present reminders of distant shores.
In te ao Māori, portraiture can encompass rangatiratanga (stewardship), whanaungatanga (kinship or connectedness), manaakitanga (kindness towards others) and whakapapa (ancestral genealogy). A sense of wairua (the spirit of a person) also resonates within these treasured portraits.
The connection between land and sky is important in te ao Māori. In Māori creation, Papatūānuku (the earth mother) was separated from Ranginui (the sky father) by their children, creating Te Ao Mārama, the world of light.
Welcome to the autumn issue of Bulletin. Here at the Gallery, we’re about to move into a major changeover as we rehang our upstairs collection galleries. When they reopen again on 10 April, the whole space will have been given over to a major new exhibition.
George Albert Steel, Elizabeth Pulman King Tāwhiao Tukaroto Matutaera Pōtatau Te Wherowhero (Ngāti Mahuta, Tainui)
Experience the Gallery’s collection from the perspective of our place in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean.
Neil Pardington photographed this abandoned chair in the former psychiatric hospital in Porirua, while looking for a location for a film he was planning to make. The image speaks of time slowed and compressed, measured in long hours of boredom and confinement. The person who sat in the chair and drew those patterns is long gone from the room, but their presence somehow remains. The kowhaiwhai patterns “told a story immediately and directly.” To Pardington they suggest “a cry for help from within the asylum with no spiritual hope of any kind.” But looked at another way, perhaps the designs left on the chair’s arms also represent a person taking the time they have available to remake an unsympathetic environment in a more congenial way.
(Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020)
In 2008 Lisa Reihana was visiting Sydney where, by chance, she saw an exhibition of a French neo-classical wallpaper that had been printed almost exactly two hundred years earlier, Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (savages of the Pacific Ocean). It depicted the explorations of Captain James Cook in twenty panels. The exhibition label, recalled Reihana, “said how it was about the people of the Pacific. I could not see it. I thought that the piece itself was a marvel, but I just couldn’t see the Pacific in it at all.”Inspired by Les Sauvages, in 2015 Reihana made In Pursuit of Venus [infected], a 26-metre panoramic video in which vignettes of Pasifika, Aboriginal, Pākehā and Māori characters are superimposed over the idyllic Pacific landscapes imagined two centuries ago on the other side of the world. Reihana’s narratives of sexual violence, trade, dance, exploration, misunderstandings, conflict and violent incidents challenge colonial stereotypes, giving agency to indigenous peoples and adding nuance to colonial histories. “I hope that as a viewer you’re always trying to work out what exactly is going on in this work”, says Reihana. “Just like these historical figures would have. When you suddenly meet new people and new things are happening, you have to decipher and make sense of the world yourself. There will always be lots of misunderstanding – layers of misunderstanding.” This work is a panoramic photographic print derived from In Pursuit of Venus [infected]. It combines different interactions between English sailors and Pasifika peoples. While Cook’s botanist Joseph Banks – who gave his name to Banks Peninsula – takes a chief’s wife to his tent, two sailors approach some seated Tahitian women. One of the sailors coughs and spits blood on the ground. They smile and hold up two spike nails as a suggested trade...
(We do this, 12 May 2018 - 26 May 2019)
Charles Frederick Goldie Study from Life or One of the Old School, Wiremu Watene Tautari (Ngāti Whātua)
Wiremu Watene Tautari (c.1834–1933) was one of Charles Goldie’s earliest Māori portrait subjects, and was said by a descendant to have met the artist through the timber shipping business. A merchant operating a substantial kauri trade between Pitoitoi/Riverhead in the upper Waitemata Harbour and the mills of Auckland, Tautari supplied timber to a mill at Commercial Bay operated by the artist’s father David Goldie, who was Auckland’s mayor at that time. Tautari had been present as a small boy in March 1841 when Lieutenant-Governor Captain William Hobson landed at Ōrākei, and Ngāti Whātua chief Apihai Te Kāwau presented the Crown with the land that became central Auckland. Expected protection and mutual benefit, however, were unfulfilled: further Crown purchases and confiscations saw Māori a minority in this area by the late 1840s. Almost complete loss of lands would follow. Tautari lived to the age of ninety-nine, and was active throughout his life in campaigning for the return of Ngāti Whātua rights and land.
(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)
Exquisite Treasure Revealed
Canterbury Museum holds two albums compiled by Diamond Harbour artist Margaret Stoddart. The older of the two, containing images featured in this Bulletin, and itself currently exhibited in the Gallery, covers the period 1886–96. The album is handsomely bound in maroon, and stamped M.O.S. in gold. It contains a sort of travelogue by way of black and white photographs set amongst decorative painting, mostly of native flora, with some locality and date information.
This article first appeared as 'Stoddart: an artist for all seasons' in The Press on 17 November 2015.
The dazzling watercolours of an adventurous and trailblazing Canterbury artist.
This article first appeared as 'Otira colour captured in all its summer glory' in The Press on 28 February 2014.
The tent, one of the most basic architectural structures, is also a symbol for temporary shelter and a metaphor for the body. Pip Culbert has investigated its essential form by removing everything but the reinforced stitching, laying out its structure like an isometric plan. The tent is denied perspective but retains a spatial sense.
Culbert was a British artist based in France who graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s. Culbert showed her work extensively in solo and group shows internationally, and first exhibited in this country in 1993.
Christchurch Art Gallery acknowledges with sadness the recent passing of Pip Culbert.
(Above ground, 2015)
This article first appeared as 'Stoddart's summer' in The Press on 15 February 2013.
While the Gallery remains closed to the public the permanent collection continues to grow with several generous gifts and bequests being received recently.
The title of Michael Parekowhai’s work comes from a children’s counting game, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief. You might have used it for counting cherry stones, or choosing whose turn it was to go next. It came with a dose of casual sexism, of course: for boys of earlier generations, it suggested what you were going to be when you grew up; for girls, who you might marry. When Parekowhai used the last three ‘occupations’ on the list to title three life-size mannequin sculptures, each depicting a well-set-up young Māori man, the implication was that there was no game of chance involved for Māori—that the social die was already cast.
Parekowhai modelled the figure of the young Māori man on his father. Poorman wears a sharp suit with a black tie, and his hair is immaculate. He looks more than a little like an entertainer from the 1960s, a member of one of the Māori showbands like the Howard Morrison Quartet or The Quin Tikis or The Diplomats. He has a name tag attached to his jacket pocket, as if he were attending some tedious function: Hello, My Name is Hori. Hori is a transliteration of Parekowhai senior’s first name, George. It’s also the name that was commonly used in the 1950s and 60s in racist jokes made by Pākehā about Māori. One way and another, this is a deeply uncomfortable work that confronts—and also confounds—stereotypes of Māori identity.
(Your Hotel Brain 13 May 2017 - 8 July 2018)
The ruins of Diamond Harbour's Godley House may have finally been removed but the stunning sparkling views out across Lyttelton Harbour remain.
Margaret Stoddart was born on this day in 1865 at Diamond Harbour. Here she is in 1909:
The Press announced today that another iconic Banks Peninsula building is to be demolished, Godley House at Diamond Harbour.
Fiona Pardington Portrait of a Life-cast, possibly of ‘Taha-tahala’ [possibly Takatahara], Aotearoa New Zealand
The explorer Dumont d’Urville made three visits to New Zealand in 1824, 1827 and 1840. He returned to France from his last Pacific survey carrying a collection of fifty-one plaster life-casts made by the on-board phrenologist and naturalist Pierre-Marie Alexandre Dumoutier of people met in locations including Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor, Tasmania and New Zealand. Dumoutier put the assembled cast likenesses on display at his personal museum in Paris.
Ngāi Tahu artist Fiona Pardington travelled to the Musée de l’Homme in Paris in 2010 to powerfully reclaim and transform the life-casts into moving portraits through her photographic art. Takatahara (or Tangatahara), one of her own relatives, was a chiefly tupuna (ancestor) of Horomaka (Banks Peninsula) and a noted defender of Ngāi Tahu during the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha’s devastating South Island raids. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)
A selection of works by some of New Zealand’s most significant historical and contemporary artists responding to the unique landscapes of Banks Peninsula Te Pataka o Rakaihautu.
Ina Te Papatahi (Te Ngahengahe, Ngāpuhi) was a niece of the prominent Ngāpuhi chiefs Eruera Maihi Patuone and Tāmati Waka Nene, both early signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Ina Te Papatahi lived at the Waipapa Māori hostel in Mechanic’s Bay, Auckland, not far from Charles Goldie’s Hobson Street studio. She sat for him many times and introduced him to many of his other Māori sitters. This likeness belongs to the period when Goldie started painting portraits of elderly Māori with moko, as both memorable subjects and “noble relics of a noble race”. It also reflects the impact of his four and a half years studying in Paris from 1893, where influences included the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, whose portraits he studied and several times copied.
(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)
Margaret Stoddart worked exclusively as a watercolourist and painted plein-air landscapes from early in her career. Her work developed towards an impressionistic style while she was based in Europe between 1898 and 1906. At this time she began exploring the various atmosphericeffects experienced while painting plein-air, as seen in Camiers, France, where Stoddart uses very wet washes of colour to capture the hazy conditions of the scene.
On her return from Europe in 1907, Margaret Stoddart lived in Godley House with her mother and sister and remained there until the family’s Diamond Harbour estate was sold off in 1913. The family were keen gardeners, as can be seen by the charming cottage garden. This is one of a number of paintings Stoddart did in Diamond Harbour and shows the style she had developed during her time in Europe. The expressive opaque watercolour treatment is combined with fine fluid washes applied in a quick and direct manner, out of doors before the subject. Stoddart was born in Diamond Harbour, Christchurch, but in 1876 the family sailed for Britain and she received her early education in Edinburgh. The family returned to New Zealand in 1879 and in 1882 Stoddart enrolled at the Canterbury College School of Art. She was a founding member of the Palette Club whose members were concerned with painting out of doors. She travelled to Europe in 1898.
Margaret Stoddart painted many scenes of the Southern Alps, particularly in the Mount Cook National Park region in South Canterbury. Indeed, the lilies featured here are known as ‘Mount Cook’ lilies.
By the time she painted this work, Stoddart was widely recognised as the leading New Zealand flower painter of the time. The immediacy of the detail suggests that she did at least the preliminary work on site, rather than in the studio. The watercolour washes have the Impressionistic style that became Stoddart’s hallmark.
Stoddart was born in Diamond Harbour, on Banks Peninsula, but in 1876 the family sailed for Britain and she received her early education in Edinburgh. The family returned to New Zealand in 1879 and in 1882 Stoddart enrolled at the Canterbury College School of Art. She was a founding member of the Palette Club whose members were concerned with painting out of doors. After living in England for several years, Stoddart returned to New Zealand in 1907 and settled in Diamond Harbour.
For the exhibition I See Red (5 December 2007 - 23 November 2008) this work was displayed with the following label: ‘My love is like a red, red rose’ goes the old Scottish song. Red roses are a well-known symbol for true love. Thank Robbie Burns for the song, and Margaret Stoddart for this bowl of overflowing roses, where the red is the red of a living, beating heart, a red that unfolds into full bloom, promising love that will last.
Margaret Stoddart first made the trip along the West Coast Road over Arthur’s Pass and through the Otira Gorge in April 1896, travelling in a hired wagon with several companions. Around 1927 Stoddart completed several watercolours of the gorge including An Otira Stream (also known as Mountain rata). In this work the artist combines her interest in flower painting with landscape to complete a vibrant vision of southern rata in full bloom amongst the rugged Otira terrain. In the summer months of January and February the mountain slopes of the Otira Gorge come alive with the crimson flowers of southern rata.
For the exhibition Untitled #1050 (25 November 2017 – 14 October 2018) this work was displayed with the following label:
“Land is essential to the Māori people because it’s been used by the ancestors for centuries. I believe that during that time, of centuries past, there has been a spiritual content left in the land. This spiritual content infuses and gives soul to the land and in turn the land gives it back to us and humanises our soul because of our ancestors.”
In this painting Nin’s inspiration is the Mamaku Range lying just West of Rotorua. Landforms have been simplified while an abstract pattern based on the traditional prow and stern carvings of the famous 200 year old Māori war canoe, Te Winika, has been overlaid.
Nin said, “I’ve taken that whole aspect of the canoe prow and the stern post and looked at it and planted it on my painting so that you look through the lattice-work, as it were, into the land, through into the soul of the land.”
Studying art at Ilam Art School here in Christchurch during the 1960s, Nin emerged as a modernist painter interested in abstraction which he combined with Māori culture. His time at Ilam “opened the door for me to bridge the gap between the Pākehā world […] and the Māori world. My paintings are a synthesis of the bi-cultural situation that we have here in New Zealand.”
—Buck Nin, 1981
The Ngāti Mahuta chief Pātara Te Tuhi (c. 1824–1910) was a key leader in the Kīngitanga, the Māori King movement which aimed to unify Māori under a single sovereign. He was a newspaper publisher and secretary to his cousin King Tāwhiao, travelling with him to England in 1884 to seek recognition from Queen Victoria of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi signed on her behalf. Pātara Te Tuhi first met Charles Goldie in 1901 and became a favourite, regular model. He also became increasingly well- known throughout New Zealand through the widespread reproduction of his painted and photographic portraits. Goldie attended Pātara Te Tuhi’s tangi in 1910, where two reproductions of this portrait were prominently displayed.
(He Waka Eke Noa, 18 February 2017 – 18 February 2018)
Cash into fashionable contemporary dialogues. That's Strategy #6 for making it big as a contemporary New Zealand artist in Europe, outlined in Peter Robinson's Mission Statement. Kissing arses, dropping names, exploiting guilt and confusing the public, Robinson’s painting promotes a range of cynical tactics for achieving career success—schemes which, if they exist at all, are probably far better kept quiet. It’s a work that offers a biting—and hilarious—critique of the artworld in the mid-1990s.
Mission Statement was painted in a friend's studio in Christchurch at a time when Robinson was travelling regularly back and forth between New Zealand and Germany. Using tourist phrases and sketches of local landmarks, peppered with caustic artworld in-jokes, and with questions in te reo Māori, Mission Statement explores various problems of translation between different cultural contexts, the most obvious of which is how to make it big when you come from New Zealand. Its real subject, however, is cultural alienation: the difficulty of communication between people, given limited time and different understandings. At this end of the world, what is recognisable to locals as the underlying compositional structure of a tukutuku panel, or as the red, black and white paint colours of wharenui, would be understood in quite a different cultural and historical context elsewhere.
(Your Hotel Brain 13 May 2017 - 8 July 2018)
On the advice of her doctor, Olivia Spencer Bower spent part of 1948 based at Rawene, on the Hokianga Harbour in Northland, to recover from suspected rheumatic fever. During that time she painted a series of watercolour drawings, including this one of Mâori children looking down from a hill to a small school ferry boat departing upstream. Spencer Bower’s watercolour technique was one of loosely handled, broad washes of colour, applied fairly quickly. As seen with the wake caused by the boat in this work, she was also interested in rhythmic linear design. Spencer Bower was born in England, the daughter of the artist Rosa Spencer Bower (née Dixon) (1865 -1960). The family came to New Zealand in 1919 and Olivia studied at the Canterbury College School of Art before travelling to Europe in 1929. There she attended the Slade School of Art and the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. Spencer Bower returned to New Zealand in 1931 and established a successful career as an artist from then on.
It is thought this nuggetty watercolour painting was completed shortly after Margaret Stoddart’s return to New Zealand from an extended period studying and painting in Europe. Acrid smoke billows upwards as the dense native bush, presumably being cleared for agricultural purposes, is consumed by fire. This is a tough, poignant and unusual subject for Stoddart – far removed from the rather more subdued still-life subjects for which she became so highly regarded. Stoddart’s complete mastery with watercolour is seen in her beautiful handling and contrasting of washes of colour, from the dense darks of the bush to the white smoke. (March 2018)
Margaret Stoddart’s painting style altered dramatically during the period she spent in Britain between 1898 and 1906. She was based at St Ives, Cornwall, where there was a large contingent of artists whose interests lay primarily in impressionism and plein air painting.
Although the exact location of The Moors is not known for certain, the painting highlights Stoddart’s development at this time. Painted outdoors, loosely applied wet washes of subdued colour effectively convey the overcast atmospheric conditions, which are contrasted with several brightly coloured flowers in the foreground.
Stoddart was born in Diamond Harbour on Banks Peninsula, but in 1876 the family sailed for Britain and she received her early education in Edinburgh. The family returned to New Zealand in 1879, and in 1882 Stoddart enrolled at the Canterbury College School of Art. She was a founding member of the Palette Club, whose members were concerned with painting outdoors.
A popular flower in New Zealand at this time, roses were also a favourite subject of Margaret Stoddart’s throughout her career. The Impressionist approach she has used in this watercolour is typical of Stoddart’s mature style. Her use of broad washes and loose handling help to capture the atmospheric effects of light falling on the roses. On her return from Europe in 1906 Stoddart’s approach was considered too ‘modern’ by many critics, however she gradually developed a reputation for her sensitive landscapes and flower studies. Stoddart was born in Diamond Harbour, on Banks Peninsula, but in 1876 the family sailed for Britain. They returned to New Zealand in 1879 and in 1882 Stoddart enrolled at the Canterbury College School of Art. She was a founding member of the Palette Club whose members were concerned with painting out of doors. After living in England for several years, Stoddart returned to New Zealand and settled in Diamond Harbour.
Charles Frederick Goldie Rakapa, an Arawa Chieftainess: Rakapa Te Tira (Ngāti Te Takinga, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa) [also known as Rakapa Manawa/Ngatatau/Rapana/Mitai]
Rakapa Te Tira was a rangatira of Te Arawa. At the time this portrait was painted she was living at Te Takinga marae at Mourea, on the eastern shores of Lake Rotorua. Her father was Wiremu Maihi Te Rangikaheke (c. 1815–1896), the writer and historian who taught te reo Māori to Sir George Grey, and whose manuscripts became the primary source for Grey’s 1850s published writings on Māori history and cultural traditions. Charles Goldie painted Rakapa Te Tira’s portrait at least six times. Two portraits of her (likely including this one) were exhibited at the Canterbury Society of Arts exhibition in 1911. (September 2019)
Appropriation—specifically, the use of indigenous cultural material by non-indigenous artists—was one of the critical issues of 1990s art in New Zealand, mirroring the other arguments about Māori land and property rights that were being waged in wider society. Michael Parekowhai’s monumental work Kiss the Baby Goodbye made a major contribution to that heated debate, when he reworked Gordon Walters’ painting Kahukura, completed in 1968—the year of Parekowhai’s own birth—as a sculpture in three dimensions, a giant kitset model ready to be snapped out and made up.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, Walters had been both vigorously attacked and fiercely defended for his earlier use of the pītau (fern frond) design taken from kōwhaiwhai panels in wharenui. Parekowhai’s Kiss the Baby Goodbye was an adaptation of Walters’ painting that both acknowledged the older artist’s work and asserted Māori ownership of its significant forms. It also brought the pītau design back from two dimensions into architectural space.
Christchurch Art Gallery’s work is a smaller version of Parekowhai’s original, made for his first major solo exhibition in 1994. Both sculptures share something not included in Walters’ painting: a final circle at the bottom right corner, which appears like a full stop. Parekowhai, it seemed, would have the last word.
(Your Hotel Brain 13 May 2017 - 8 July 2018)
Margaret Stoddart was living in St Ives, Cornwall, throughout much of 1902 when this work was painted. Orchards and woodland scenes, particularly in spring when the trees were in blossom, were popular subjects with her and many of her contemporaries. Stoddart was interested in the Newlyn School’s naturalistic style of painting, working directly from nature. In this watercolour she has over-painted the work with an opaque body-colour to represent the blossom. She painted several works exploring the effects of light on blossom at various times of the day. Stoddart was born in Diamond Harbour, Christchurch, but in 1876 the family sailed for Britain and she received her early education in Edinburgh. The family returned to New Zealand in 1879 and in 1882 Stoddart enrolled at the Canterbury College School of Art. She was a founding member of the Palette Club whose members were concerned with painting out of doors. After again living in England for several years, Stoddart returned to New Zealand in 1906 and settled at Diamond Harbour.
(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)
Flower painting was a popular subject with Victorian colonial women artists. It was considered more appropriate than painting landscapes, which tended to be dominated by male artists. Early in her career and influenced by her studies at the Canterbury College School of Art, Margaret Stoddart painted Wallflowers in a careful manner. The School placed an emphasis on close observation and truth to nature. The Australian botanical artist Ellis Rowan encouraged Stoddart and wrote in the Australian Town and Country Journal that, ‘Her grouping, colouring, form and harmony were perfect.’ Stoddart was born in Diamond Harbour, on Banks Peninsula, but in 1876 the family sailed for Britain and she received her early education in Edinburgh. The family returned to New Zealand in 1879 and in 1882 Stoddart enrolled at the School of Art. She was a founding member of the Palette Club whose members were concerned with painting out of doors. After living in England for several years, Stoddart returned to New Zealand in 1907 and settled in Diamond Harbour.
This watercolour was completed shortly after the Port Cooper Deed had been signed between local Māori rangatira (chiefs) and the Crown, represented by Walter Mantell, after weeks of bitter wrangling between the parties. Even before the Deed had been signed by Kāi Tahu (the local Māori iwi or tribe) in August 1849, the land had been surveyed and reserves allocated. The rangatira Nohomutu and his whānau (family) at Purau were allocated just nine acres with all the gardens beyond the reserve to be abandoned after the present crops had been harvested. A few weeks later, Mantell told the Māori chiefs at Whakaraupō / Lyttelton Harbour that any who refused to accept the Crown’s offer of just £200 would have no claim on the reserves. (Pickaxes and shovels, 17 February – 5 August 2018)
For the exhibition Picturing the Peninsula (21 April - 22 July 2007), this work was displayed with this label:
Akaroa has long been a favoured retreat for Christchurch’s citizens and is equally popular with out of town tourists. Its close proximity to the city makes it an easily accessible haven from the hectic bustle of city life. Many of the towns historic buildings have survived which give the town and the centre of Akaroa is now registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a national Historic Area.
Olivia Spencer Bower often painted out in the open and had a very vibrant approach to her work. In Harbour, Akaroa she seemingly revels in the peaceful summer setting of Akaroa and the tranquil view across the harbour.
‘Storm clouds, Blythburgh, Suffolk’ is typical of Margaret Stoddart’s growing interest in impressionism and painting outdoors while based in England between 1898 and 1906. The atmospheric conditions of the impending storm above Blythburgh have been rendered directly using wet washes of colour. Stoddart travelled widely, taking sketching trips to France, Italy and throughout Britain, often seeking out picturesque villages such as Blythburgh as her subjects. Stoddart enjoyed living at St Ives, Cornwall. The town’s reputation as a plein-air (open air) artists’ colony made it a magnet for New Zealand artists including Frances Hodgkins and Dorothy Richmond, who visited Stoddart there in 1902. (Brought to Light, November 2009)
The Seven Sisters are prominent peaks on the undulating wall of the volcanic crater that forms Lyttelton Harbour. This wall – a geographical feature known generically as a ‘caldera’ because of its resemblance to a Spanish cauldron, or cooking pot – dominated the view from the studio in which Lonnie Hutchinson worked when she made this work. Sista7 is Hutchinson’s personal response to the mass and grandeur of this natural landscape – ‘my story, my myth’. Cut from building paper, the delicate, interlaced patterns envelop the ancient and solid mountain forms like mists. (Brought to Light, November 2009)
The dimensions given here are for one of this work's seven individual parts. The spacing between each part, and thus the width of the entire work, can vary. In this image from the exhibition Te Puāwai o Ngāi Tahu (10 May – 24 August 2003), the parts are installed 300mm apart.
The Gallery's Watercolour Collection had modest beginnings, but over the past 70 years it has grown steadily by gift and purchase and, of all the Collections, still maintains a largely traditional emphasis. When the Gallery opened in June 1932, just 28 of the 128 paintings on display were watercolours and, of these, 11 were by British artists and 17 by New Zealanders. Among the mostly nineteenth century British watercolours were those by Helen Allingham, Edgar Bundy, Matthew Hale, Laura Knight, William Lee Hankey and Ernest Waterlow. In contrast, the New Zealand watercolours were by mostly contemporary or early twentieth century artists and included works by James Cook, Olivia Spencer Bower, Margaret Stoddart, Maude Sherwood, Eleanor Hughes and Alfred Walsh. The foundation Watercolour Collection included two paintings of larger than usual dimensions. William Lee Hankey's We've been in the Meadows all day (1184 x 878mm) and Charles N. Worsley's Mount Sefton (996 x 1105mm) are still greater in scale than any other work in the Watercolour Collection.