John Gibb

Scotland / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1831, d.1909

From the Foot of the Hills

  • 1886
  • Oil on canvas
  • Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation Collection, purchased 1996
  • 1083 x 1580mm
  • L86/97
  • View on google maps

About the artist

Gibb, John (Scotland; Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1831, d.1909)

John Gibb in his studio
The Weekly Press, 12 December 1900, p. 62
Image supplied by Christchurch City Libraries (CCL-PhotoCD07-IMG0022)

Gibb's view of the Canterbury Plains from the foot of Christchurch's Port Hills highlights the agricultural potential of this vast, flat expanse. The plains are also known as Kā Pākihi Whakatekateka a Waitaha, which translates from Māori as the seedbed of Waitaha (the region's early inhabitants). The region was a bountiful food source for the people of Ngāi Tahu, providing just as it does today. The cows standing in the middle of the gentle Heathcote / Ōpāwaho river in this painting provide a reminder, however, that this land needs to be respected if future generations are to continue to benefit from what Kā Pākihi Whakatekateka a Waitaha has to offer.

(John Gibb, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • This view is from the foot of the hillside suburb of Cashmere, looking towards Christchurch. The Southern Alps are in the distance and in the foreground is the Heathcote River. John Gibb painted a number of views from the foot of the Port Hills across what used to be farmland and is now the suburbs of St Martins and Opawa. From the Foot of the Hills is painted in the precise academic realist manner in which Gibb was trained in Scotland. It was originally in the Canterbury Society of Arts permanent collection. Gibb was born in Cumbernauld, Scotland. He studied with John McKenzie at Greenock and, in 1861, began exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy. In 1868, however, he began exhibiting at the more progressive Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts. Gibb emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand in 1876. He settled in Christchurch, was a founding member of the Canterbury Society of Arts and travelled widely in New Zealand. (Label date unknown)