South Canterbury's Heritage
Preserved by Artists who painted in the Mackenzie
The paintings that hang in many private homes and public buildings in South
Canterbury and museums further a field are a permanent memorial to the many
artist that have been attracted to the dramatic wide-horizons and snow-capped
mountains of Mackenzie Country were distance lends enchantment to the views.
Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook
Nineteenth Century Artists
Resident painters Edmund Norman and William Packe and Rev. James Preston. A number of noted watercolourists had painted in the district: David Con Hutton, Samuel Cousins, Nicholas Chevalier, William Fox, Julius von Haast. During the 1850s-1870s many "travel artists" whom had been classically trained according to the traditions of British and European art visited Australia and New Zealand in search of picturesque landscapes. These colonial period artists, Nicholas Chevalier, and his contemporaries were the last of the true colonial period artists. The work of amateur artists pictorially recorded the opening up of the land for settlement and farming. Early paintings or sketches of South Canterbury coastline dating from 1860 are often unsigned and unidentified and created by amateurs. Some can be found in the South Canterbury Museum in Timaru.
Babington, fl 1860s (as the artist)
Sterndale, Totara Valley, South Canterbury 1860s
Watercolour on paper, 160 x 354 mm mounted on board
Scope and Contents : Shows the farmhouse, barns, and property of surveyor Charles Reginald Shaw (1829-1906). The property is backed by tall trees, a drive runs towards the homestead through a small stream and several horses graze in the foreground
Identified as the work of T A Babington from photographs of similar privately-owned paintings and drawings, several associated with C R Shaw, including the Library's watercolour of Shaw's house at Timaru. Provenance : ATL donated 22/6/72 by Kenneth J. Ray, Te Marua, as wished by his mother the late Mrs Ray (Bertha Shaw).
Samuel Butler 1835-1902
An early Canterbury settler who came out on the 'Roman Emperor' to Lyttelton took up 'Mesopotamia' in the upper Rangitara basin in 1860 to 1864. Despite his lack of experience as a run-holder, he managed to double his capital to �8,000 in four years. He exhibited paintings at Christchurch. The landscape in the Mackenzie is dominated by the distant Mount Cook - Aorangi. Samuel Butler described the peak in 1860. "It rose towering in a massy parallelogram, far above all the others. It is well worth any amount of climbing to see. No one can mistake it. The moment it comes into sight the exclamation is, 'That is Mount Cook!' -not 'That must be Mount Cook!' "After his return to London in 1864, Butler made his name as a writer. Erewhon, published in 1872, is a satirical and provocative 'dystopia' which derived its setting and much of its content from the years he had spent in New Zealand. He also wrote A First Year in Canterbury Settlement, London, 1883. He describes the vegetation e.g. tutu (toot) and river terraces in detail. Butler's Road and Butler's saddle on Sherwood Downs are named after him. Biography of Butler. His self portrait is in the Christchurch Art Museum. He is also represented in Turnbull, the Canterbury Museum and Hocken.
Butler said "Scenery is not Scenery - it is "Country" - if it is good for sheep, it is beautiful, magnificent and all the rest of it; if not, it is not worth looking at."
"Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on."
"There is nothing which at once affects a man so much and so little as his own death." Samuel Butler
Nicholas Chevalier 1828-1902
Watercolour 1868. Canterbury Plains were treeless, covered with tussock. Four Peaks to the left. North is Mt Somers and between Mt Peel and Mt Somers is the snow capped Taylor Range that was part of Clent Hills Station.
An immigrant colonist, travel artist, architect, lithographer, cartoonist, and illustrator was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on 9 May 1828. He spent many years studying art, architecture and lithography in Lausanne, Munich, London and Rome, before leaving for Australia, arriving in Melbourne on 25 December 1854. He visited New Zealand on three occasions between 1865 and 1869. Known for his landscapes and fine and graphic arts, architecture, and design. He died in London on 15 March 1902. bio
Surveyor's camp at base of Mt Cook 1867
The Times July 13 1873 pg 4 (summerized)
The country is New Zealand, and the artist is Mr Nicholas Chevalier, who had the good fortune to travel there for two years, pencil in hand. His labours were so appreciated by the colonists that two of their local councils gave practical proof of a regard for art by voting the artist handsome donations. Pictures such as these do more to make New Zealand and New Zealanders known to their old-country cousins than all the emigrants' guide-books ever written. It is not only the energetic colonist who deserves well of a colony. The pioneers of art and science who follow the pioneers of the plough do as much to develop its resources, and though, naturalist and geologists have long explored New Zealand, Mr Chevalier is the first who has brought us home the form and colour of its surface.
No. 9 Benmore, near one of the high passes leading to the recesses of the Southern Alps, may stand for a back-country sheep-station. The crooked, rugged dray-track; the ragged hills, with their bare shingle stretches, and the snow lying in the clefts, would be at once recognized by anyone who passed this spot, which is on the road leading to the Canterbury plains to the west coast gold diggings.
No. 10 one of the Cobb and Co.'s famous American coaches, hung on leather and driven by a Yankee driver, is whipping across a dangerous ford of the Arahura
No. 99. Pencil drawing of the Mount Cook range, with the Tasman glacier crawling down the valley like some great mammoth. Mount Cook, in all the rose hues of sunset, is well depicted on the whole, the colouring exquisite, but the distance false., the mountain does not look its fifteen thousand feet.
One thing is wanting. Mr Chevalier has not brought home a sample of the New Zealand bad weather. There is nothing so characteristic of those islands with the seasons, and the artist ought to have clothed a few of his sunny landscapes in white, and have swept them with south-west storms. These lakes and mountains and skies are paradise in summer, but in winter their dreariness and desolation are so vast and awful.
New Zealand Herald, 16 February 1882, Page 6
The European Mail states that "Mr. N. Chevalier has just finished two water-colour drawings, both being New Zealand subjects. One reflects Mount Cook, the giant of the southern hemisphere, and the other Lake Ohau. Mount Cook stands forth in all its solemn majesty, lighted by the rays of the risin" sun, which give to the higher peaks a yellowish, rosy glow, and leave the lower lands in bluish grey misty colours. The placid Lake Pukaki, which slumbers as it were at the base of the mount, and which is fed from the neighbouring glaciers, receives the reflection of the light colours of the snow-clad mountain peaks. The foreground intensifies the solemn solitude which one feels in presence of Nature's mighty works. Lake Ohau is more pastoral, and one can imagine it, as time goes on, with its banks peopled with summer visitors from those countries where the air is not so invigorating as in the mountain heights of New Zealand. A special interest attaches to the drawings under notice, as they are painted for Colonel Sir Herbert Sandford (Royal Commissioner to the Melbourne Exhibition). It is well known that the British exhibitors presented Sir Herbert with a sum of money in recognition of his valuable services, and it appears that in order to have a lasting memorial of his visit to the colonies, he decided to devote the sum to the purchase of works of art, and honoured Mr. Chevalier with the above commission."
Nicholas Chevalier: An Artist's Journey through Canterbury in 1866 56 pages supported an exhibition at the McDougal Art Gallery, Christchurch (which is now closed). Page 36 shows his painting of lake Tekapo. The new Christchurch Art Gallery opened late May 2003.
Thomas Selby Cousins 1840 - 1897
The nephew of Samuel Cousin, came to Canterbury in 1863 from Melbourne. Worked on South Canterbury farms as a station hand as it was not profitable to be an artist in those early years. He was a foundation member of the Canterbury Society of Arts. Found work illustrating for the Illustrated Press, retouching photographs and taking commissions for portraits. Painted a number of watercolours around Mt Peel between 1867 and 1873. His first job in Canterbury was a shearer at Mt Peel Station, the Acland family being a friend of his father. He resided in Dunedin. His father was Henry Cousins, an engraver and his uncle was Samuel Cousins.
Artist's Camp Beneath Mount Cook watercolour 330 x 240
The Timaru Herald 13 April 1867
Fine Arts - The Argus of March 12 has the following. An artist has lately arrived in the colony from New Zealand, where he has been pursuing a career outside his profession. He is Mr Cousins (son of the celebrated engraver of that name, and nephew of a well-known Royal Accademician). Intending to resume his professional career, he has sent a few of his recent pictures to Mr Hines' Exhibition of fine arts in Collins street. Water colours. The subjects are
A Pass on the West Coast road, Canterbury, N.Z.
Twilight effect on the Markikihi River, near Timaru
A West Coast View
Charles Delamain b. c1846
Charlie worked on various Mackenzie stations and painted scenes in watercolour around Lake Tekapo. He first appeared in the Mackenzie as a cadet for the Teschemakers at Haldon in 1864. By 1874 he was a manager at Sawdon working for G.G. Russell so spent some at Russell's other property - Otipua near Timaru. He attended church at St. Patrick's at Burkes Pass. Charlie returned to England.
John Gully 1819-1888 He painted between 700 and 900 paintings in his lifetime.
Born in Bath England and arrived at New Plymouth in 1852 with his family. Had taken private lessons in England in painting. He was a volunteer in the Taranaki Wars but was invalided out so decided to work in the less troubled South Island. He was a draughtsman for the Lands and Survey Office in Nelson. In the 1860s he worked full time as an artist in watercolours and was known for his 'atmospheric effect' in his paintings. The Bishop Suter Art Galley in Nelson has 42 John Gully watercolours. Julius von Haast and Arthur Dudley Dobson were the first to survey the Mt Cook region in 1862 and estimated the height of Mt Cook to be 12,349' (4,585 metres). In the early 1860s John Gully painted twelve watercolours of the South Island mountains and glaciers from sketches by geologist and explorer J. Franz Julius von Haast. These paintings were used to illustrate a lecture by Haast to the Royal Geographical Society, in London, in 1864 and sparked interest and publicity from intending tourists and climbers. bio
John Gully, Painter by Fred McLean 192pp. Published 2001 Softcovered.
Mount Cook with the Hooker Glacier from the Mueller Glacier. 5 April 1862. 610x450mm
Sources of the Godley River and the Glassen and Godley Glaciers 1862.
Ashburton Glacier, Mt. Cook, Godley River
Two waterfalls Glacier Valley of the River Macaulay, 4080 feet, 1862 painting at bottom
Macaulay Glaciers, 4375 feet 1862
Southern Alps from the Godley riverbed.
No. 9 The great Tasman Glacier, from the west bank of the River Tasman, 2774 feet
Mt Arrowsmith and the Cameron Glaciers watercolour 390 x 610 Signed & dated 1863 lower left
Lake Pukaki 1746 feet, 1862
Mount Cook 1877 by J. Gully
Emily Weddell Harper (Mrs J B A Acland) (1830-1905)
A watercolourist who was born in England and came to NZ in 1856 on the "Egmont". Based in South Canterbury, she was the daughter of the first bishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Rev J C Harper. She married J. B. A. Acland of Mt Peel Station in 1860, her sister Sarah Shepherd Harper married Charles Percy Cox at the same ceremony at Bishopscourt, CHCH. paintings U of Canterbury - enter the digital library and search for Acland.
William Mathew Hodgkins 1833-1898
He was a talented prolific amateur landscape water colourists born in June 1833 in Liverpool. When a youth he was employed for some years in London in the Patents Office, which he left in 1856 to take up a poet in Waterlow and Sons' establishment. He afterwards went to Paris, where he resided for two years in the Latin Quarter, during which time he gained a good knowledge of art, and thus laid the foundation for many successes which attended his efforts in that direction in later years. He came out to Melbourne in 1859 in the ship White Star, and after a stay there of a few months he left in the Aldinga for New Zealand, arriving in Otago early in 1860. In Dunedin he entered the service of the legal firm of Gillies and Richmond, and subsequently he became an articled clerk to Messrs Howorth and Barton. Some years later, on Mr Barton's retirement, he joined Mr Howorth in the business, but for the last 13 years he had been practising, as a solicitor, alone. He never took any active part in politics or municipal affairs. Outside his business he devoted himself to the study of art, in which, he is well known, he rose to a position of considerable eminence, so that he ranked as a worker in water colours with two of the greatest of New Zealand artists - John Gully and J.C. Richmond. In the pursuance of his art studies he travelled over a great part of the colony, and everywhere in his journeys he faithfully depicted many of the beauty spots of our colony. There is little doubt that the works of his brush and pencil will be appreciated more and more as time goes on. He was one of the principal founders of the Otago Art Society, which was formed in 1876. The late Mr Irvine was its first president, on his death in 1880 Mr Hodgkins was unanimously elected in his stead - a post which he held continuously up to the time of his death. For the last 18 months he had been ailing. The cause of death being Bright's disease. In 1866 Mr Hodgkins married Miss Parker, daughter of Mr John S. Parker, who was at one time coroner of Sydney. He is survived by his widow and six of a family - four sons and two daughters. Each of the daughters - one of whom is the wife of Mr W.H. Field, solicitor, of Wellington - possesses in a marked degree the artistic ability of her father. The funeral took place on Friday. The remains were followed from the deceased gentleman's late resident in Roslyn to the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin. Otago Witness Feb. 17th 1898 page 9 column 2
Painted South Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps of New Zealand. Mt. Cook
Mt Cook from Lake Pukaki, c.1886 Watercolour 30 x 65cm $10,000 - 15,000 
In 1882 he proposed a plan to start a national collection of pictures, and in 1888 a room in the Municipal Chambers was made available for the Otago Art Society?s collection. The Dunedin Public Art Gallery NZ Collection and the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington both have important collections by Gully and W.M. Hodgkins. He painted the South Canterbury Plains 565x330mm. His daughter Frances (1869-1947) who painted his portrait became New Zealand's most internationally celebrated painter. In the 1890s she travelled in NZ sketching for the ODT and Otago Witness. bio Died in Dunedin.
David Con Hutton 1843-1910
Painted around Timaru and the surrounding area. Foundation principal of the Dunedin School of Art. In 1870 New Zealand's first art school was opened in Dunedin, by the provincial Government, with David Con Hutton, then recently arrived from Scotland, as its first drawing master. He was paid a salary of ?400.
Frank Huddleston 1846-1922
F.F.C. (Frank) Huddleston of Timaru, a surveyor and a fine painter in water colour, was appointed ranger of the Mt Cook area in 1884 as there were complaints that the native vegetation was being damaged. He painted scenes of the Mount Cook region. In 1886 Frank became the first manager of the Hermitage which was built by private company. Huddleston retired in 1894 and soon after the company collapsed. In March 1888 Frank painted the 'Opawa' run owned by John Rutherford who was a director involved in the company taking tourists by coach to the Hermitage. Frank's brother- in law Francis Hayter of Rollesby was secretary. A b/w copy of the painting is found on page 177 in Pinney's Early South Canterbury Runs. The original is at the Aigantighe Art Gallery in Timaru.
Timeframes has a painting by Francis Fortescue Croft Huddlestone. Born in Brittany, where he began his education. From 1863-64, he attended Nelson College and later (1898-1918) taught art there. As well as having an interest in natural history (including a noted ability to tame kea), he belonged to Bishopdale Sketching Club and Suter Art Society in Nelson. Reputedly, he chose the site for the Hermitage resort at Mt Cook, and was its first manager from 1884-94. NZ rep: Aigantighe, Gisborne Museum, Hawkes Bay Museum, Hocken, Suter, Turnbull.
Mount Cook area with Rotten Tommy and the Tasman River 2 July 1891. Looking east towards Mount Blackburn (also known as Rotten Tommy, the main peak on the left), with another peak on the right, the Tasman River bisecting the view, and a cottage in the left foreground on flat land among scrub.
Mount Cook and the old Hermitage. F.F.C.H. 24 June 1886. ATL. Shows the original Hermitage built in 1884. White Horse Hill is behind it at the right, and Mount Cook is in the left background. The view is painted from approximately the position of the present Hermitage Hotel.
Rollesby, sheep station, ca 1890 near Burkes Pass. Watercolour. Frank Huddleston was a landscape artist, teacher, and conservationist, played a role in the founding and management of the first Hermitage under White Horse Hill at Aoraki/Mt Cook during the 1880s and 1890s. I can see the homestead and a cottage both with chimneys surrounded by trees with the woolshed with a tree in the middle of the sheepyards. To the left a granary with a lean to. Poplars in the foreground. A gorse fence row on a river flat.
[Huddleston, Francis Fortescue Croft] [Sheep station, Canterbury ca 1890] Ref: A-219-004. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington
Henry Grant Lloyd 1830-1904
Watercolour and sketch artist. Born in Cheshire, England, grew up in Tasmania. Travelled Australia extensively, and lived in Dunedin during the 1880s. Exhibited in both Australia and New Zealand. Represented: Mitchell Library
May 17 1884 Otago Witness page 10
"Mr H. Grant Lloyd, whose water colour sketches of New Zealand scenery are well known, and who had paintings at Sydney and Melbourne Exhibitions, announce that he is engaged at commissions."
Mt Sefton - Vale of Tasman 3 January 1883
Richmond Station Lake Takapo [sic] 1883
Castle Hill Station and Mt. Torlesse pencil/watercolour on paper ; 28 x 38 cm
Lake Ohau, Mt. Cook Dec.20.82
Mary Grace Caroline Lysaght 1850?-1936
Artist. Painted a beautiful watercolour of Mount Four Peaks from Albury [188-]. Eldest child of James Richard and Frances Charlotte (nee Gardiner) Lysaght. Born at Adbury, Hants. Left England with parents and brothers and sisters 1873, on the "Crusader", arriving Lyttelton, 1874. Father bought land at Mokaia, near Hawera, in 1875, and farmed it till death in 1900. I wonder if she was related to Annie Caroline Lysaght of Hawera who made a camping trip to Mount Cook in 1877? Annie later married Thomas Henry Wigley.
Edmund Norman 1820-1875
Born in Devonport, England. He first came to NZ as a cadet surveyor arriving on the Brougham 9 February 1842 with Samuel Brees, who had a three-year appointment as the Surveyor General to the New Zealand Company. Norman worked in the Wellington-Manawatu area. When the three years were up Edmund returned to England with Brees but came back, arriving at Lyttelton in the 1850s. Edmund was appointed to a surveying post in Kaikoura in 1852 but before and after that he travelled around as an artist. By 1855 and was self employed and firmly established in Lyttelton where he advertised his services as a professional draughtsman. He was earning money from his sketches of Lyttelton and The Plains as early as 1855. It was difficult to make a living from art at this time. He lived for at least three years in Lyttelton, supporting himself as an artist. Several of Norman's drawings in this style were engraved in 1857 as illustrations for "New Zealand or Zealandia - The Britain of the South." He left Christchurch in 1862 for South Canterbury to work up country and continued painting and drawing in his spare time. Edmund was a boundary keeper employed in the Mackenzie including Haldon from 1862-1864 when the Teschemakers held the run. His painting primarily the Mackenzie depict the mountain ranges correctly. His precise topographical drawings from his sketchbook captures the details of the landforms and vegetation with a precision and accuracy much appreciated in the 1860s before photography was in common use. The evenly balanced work is clearly the work of a trained draughtsman. He used a variety of fine pencils within precise contours, a technique which would make it very suitable for an engraver or lithographer to translate it into a image for the printing press and wider publication. He travelled widely with his sketchbooks to the upper Waitaki, Burkes Pass and Tekapo area. The is one of his pencil on paper sketches of Burkes Pass, 1875, hanging in the new Christchurch Art Gallery. His drawings are detailed showing qualities he perfected as a surveyor. He tried his hand at gold prospecting then returned to the Mackenzie. He died 3 June in the winter of 1875 by the roadside "at the foot of the long cutting" after leaving the Burkes Pass Hotel for Sawdon where he had been working and is buried at the Burkes Pass Cemetery. Represented: Hocken, Turnbull.
Benmore Ohau River Ben Ohau Range Pukaki River Mt Cook Simon's Hill
"Birds Eye View of the Mackenzie Country"
The Mackenzie Plains from near Haldon. This is only the left half of the drawing. Mount Maggie is the isolated hill in the center. To the right is splinted rock aiguilles.
Birds Eye View of the Mackenzie Country This is his best known pencil and wash sketch. Only the left ? of the sketch is shown. Commissioned by Thomas Teschemaker and takes in the whole of the Waitaki Basin, Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo. The Mackenzie District Council in Fairlie now have the original.
Burkes Pass -Canterbury Art Gallery
Lake Pukaki 1860s
Lake Alexandrina c.1870 Pencil and wash Christchurch Public Art Museum
View of Lyttelton
Edmund Norman 1820-1875 : drawings of early South Canterbury: an exhibition of works by Edmund Norman from public and private collections, Aigantighe Art Gallery, Timaru 6-28 July 1985 20pp ill. Text by Roger Collins.
Burkes Pass 1875
Timaru Herald, 9 June 1875, Page 3
An inquest was held at Burgess' Accommodation House, Burke's Pass on Friday last before F.J. Kimbell, Esq., J.P. and a jury, (Mr A.B. Smith, of Rollesby) being foreman on the body of Edmund Norman.
John Harris, carrier, said, that he found the body of the deceased about three o'clock p.m., on Thursday at the foot of the long cutting in Burke's Pass a little way off the road on the bank of a creek and lying on his back with marks of blood on his face. He then rode back and met Mr Denninstoun. They found by the side of the body a hat, a book, a parcel containing socks and a pint bottle, about half full of whiskey. He did not know what caused the bold on the eye, but from the appearance he thought it must have been caused by birds. There was frost on his clothes. George James Dennistoun, sheep farmer, Haldon, said that on leaving Joseph Watson and passing through Mr Smith's gate he heard a cooey, and looking back saw John Harries. He went back and recognised the body of Edmund Norman. He went back and recognised the body of Edmund Norman. He found a hat, parcel, sketch-book and a small bottle half bottle half full of spirits and water. Nelson Eden, carter, Frederick Slow, laborer, Burke's Pass, said that he knew the deceased. He saw him last after dinner on Wednesday. He complained of pain in his left side. He was quite sober. He had also complaining in the morning of not feeling well. Georginia Burgess, wife of John Burgess, hotel-keeper, Burkes Pass, said deceased came down to the Pass from Swadon Station on Tuesday evening and left again on Wednesday afternoon. He was quite sober when he left. He complained of being dull and dreaded the night coming on. He had had two small glasses of whiskey and two of beer during the day. Mr A Turnbull called shortly after the deceased left and aid that he met a man on the road who seemed to stagger when he spoke to him, as if he had taken too much to drink. The jury returned the following verdict; "That Edmund Norman died on Wednesday, June 2, 1875, by the visitation of God in a natural way, and not by any violent means whatever.
Mrs Emma Brignell Ostler
Wife of William Henry Ostler, who managed The Wolds in 1858 and in 1870 owned Ben Ohau painted scenes in the Mackenzie. She was probably the first women artist in the area. bio
William Packe c.1840-1882
William's paintings were shown in a fine art exhibition in Christchurch in 1870 and in London in 1958. He painted 'Huts on Mesopotamia at Samuel Butler's homestead' c.1868, and the inside of one and the originals are at the ATL, Wellington. On 1868 moved to Raincliff Station and painted Burke's hut. He also painted the cottage at "Castle Hill." Represented: Turnbull and Canterbury Museum.
A limestone outcrop in South Canterbury
by William Packe. Original Canterbury Museum.
Alone In A Mountain World edited by David McLeod. A High Country Anthology - South Island of NZ. Hb. 314 pg. Dustjacket illustration, "Castle Hill, Springfield", depicts a timber and stone cottage in a mountain valley by W. Packe. 1979 Orakau House. Richard King (text accompanying the paintings).Stories, verse, diaries, and reminiscences of the South Island high country embellished with sketches from the notebooks of Colin V. Wheeler, and published by A.H. & A.. Reed in 1972, 1st Edition. "To be young and fit and keen, alone in a mountain world with only the skyline beyond ; what a life for a man! "Thus Reg Winn, a contributor to this anthology, writes of his first experiences as a high-country musterer in the Mackenzie Country. "For amidst all the rousing stories of exploration, of back country hospitality and the eccentricities of cooks, there is an awareness of the grandeur of the mountains and man's loneliness among them that gives every contribution a special flavour." "The anthology opens with Samuel Butler's first trip to the high country in 1860, and from then on the book is divided into six parts : Seeking and Stocking, Station Life, Petticoat Invasion , Hardships, Mustering and Mustering Dogs, Mixed Bag, of packing stories, deerstalking tales, and fiction. All the favourites are here, from Samuel Butler and Lady Barker to Peter Newton, John Pascoe and Mona Anderson. Throughout this collection one thing is clear : that the writers gained inspiration from their surroundings. The men never moan about their hardships and the women, after swearing like Mona Anderson, never to face the river again, do so time after time. This collection of writings will show something of how the life of the high country was lived and how it was loved in the past.
Robb's Hut c. 1868 by Wm Packe
Wanganui Herald, 20 April 1905, Page 5
Timaru, April A man named [James] Robb about 70 years of age, died suddenly today. He was a shepherd for many years on the Raincliff run. [William James Robb, died April 20th 1905, aged 69 years -Timaru Cemetery. He died unmarried. He was first appointed to his position as boundary keeper by Burke and stayed with the station until the dissolution if the station. He was well known and a kindly helpful good humoured man -see page 2020 The Story of Raincliff]
Rev. James Preston 1834 - 1898
Used his own original interpretation so the mountain ranges, buildings, foreground in his paintings are not accurate but his quaintly naive, untutored style, form an interesting historical record and remain a source of delight.
Captain E.F. Temple 1835-1921
Born in England the son of Lieutenant Colonel John Temple. Edwyn was educated at Rugby School. Captain Edwyn Frederick Temple was a military man, a Captain in the 55th Foot (Westmoreland) Regiment, in 1858 who fought in the Crimean War, where he was wounded in the hip by cannon fire and served in India from 1864 to 1866. He arrived in Lyttelton on 25 October 1879 on the 'Rangitiki'. As a gifted watercolour artist he lived in Christchurch for two years and was the first secretary of the Canterbury Society of Arts when it was founded in 1880. In 1882 'The Captain' started farming at 'Castlewood' near Geraldine which he had purchased the previous year and continued farming and painting for three decades before retiring to Timaru. An accomplished landscape painter, he exhibited constantly at exhibitions in Christchurch. He travelled widely throughout the alpine region of the South Island recording his journeys in both watercolours and oils. He is known for his fine oil painting "Storming of the Martiniere, Lucknow"1858 held at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Rakaki Gorge Represented: Turnbull, ChCh and Hocken
The Morning Post (London, England), Tuesday, November 07, 1899; pg. 5
A marriage has been arranged, and will shortly take place between Richard Marshall of Enholmes, Patrington, Yorkshire, and Ellen Gertrude, eldest daughter of Captain E.F. Temple, late 55th Regiment, and now of Geraldine, New Zealand.
"Mesopotamia 1884" by Capt. Temple. 2/3 of the watercolour painting of the former homestead of Samuel Butler's run up the Rangitata Gorge.
Edwyn Temple : His Life and Art / Neil Roberts: Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch 1999 60 pp. The 15 April - 13 June 1999 exhibition comprised 155 works in oils, watercolours and drawings spanning sixty years. Many of his paintings are in the hands of descendants scattered throughout the world but he is also represented in collections held by the National Library of Australia, Canberra; Hocken Library, Dunedin; Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; Centre of Contemporary Art (incorporating Canterbury Society of Arts) Christchurch; as well as the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Timaru Courier 2
Sept. 2010 pg8
Early artists left impressive legacy
artists were rare in early times but there were a few. A very early painter,
though necessarily a part time one, was the Rev J.E. Preston, described by one
art critic as a ��Colonial primitive��. Although untrained, Mr Preston was
a real artist who left an interesting record of back country life. Several of
his paintings still in the district are treasured by their owners. Captain Edwyn
F. Temple (1835- 1921), a trained and gifted painter in watercolour and oil, had
served as an officer in the British Army in India. He had also fought in the
Crimean War, where he was wounded in the hip by cannon fire and suffered from
this disability for the rest of his life. Family tradition records a period
spent studying painting in Italy, probably before he joined the army at the age
of 20. He came to New Zealand in 1879 and lived in Christchurch for two years
before moving to ��Castlewood��, near Geraldine, in 1882. Capt Temple was the
first secretary of the Canterbury Society of Arts when it was founded in 1880,
and exhibited constantly in Christchurch. His work received frequent mention in
The Lyttelton Times, some of the comments being: ��In his work he possesses
absolute genius but this genius is erratic and there is in him a tendency to
clever caricature Visitors will be fairly puzzled by his works for in them they
will recognise genius, manipulative skill with touching tenderness of
perception, womanly delicacy of colouring, vigorous treatment, harshness,
unfinished good beginnings and utter carelessness��. Capt Temple travelled
extensively in New Zealand, painting as he went. His paintings are mostly in
private collections. Oil paintings and watercolours of local interest include
Happy Days, Four Peaks, Castlewood, Geraldine, Mesopotamia 1884 and Lancelot
Walker � Pity the Poor Squatter.
Photography is recognised as an art form and William Ferrier was South Canterbury's leading photographer during the important period of Timaru's growth. He was born in Forfar, Scotland, in 1855, and the family came to New Zealand in 1869 on the William Davie. His father worked first in Dunedin, then Christchurch, and Ferrier came to Timaru about 1881, setting up a studio in ��Ross�s Royal Arcade��, at the Stafford St end. He was fascinated by the bay and the harbour, and especially enjoyed photographing storms. He also took some very good photographs in the Mt Cook area. He became very interested in oil painting and his grandson, Colin McCahon, became an outstanding modern painter. Ferrier suffered a stroke in later life but taught himself to paint left handed. He died on October 16, 1922, but has left a wonderful collection of photographs of early Timaru.
Edmund Norman was trained as a draughtsman. As early as 1855 he was earning money by making accurate sketches of Lyttelton and the plains. He arrived at Haldon Station in 1862 and was employed there for �55 a year as a boundary keeper. There were no fences at that time and boundaries were vague, so runholders saw boundary riders as the simplest method of keeping their neighbour's sheep out. These men were hardy souls who were left to feed themselves on the fare sent to them from time to time. Rain, hail or snow, every day they walked the boundary, about 10 miles (16km) a day, and drove out any outsiders. For such men, working alone, a minor accident could have serious consequences, especially if they did not reach their huts before nightfall, as happened once to John Hutcheson. The runholder's wife, Henrietta Teschemaker, was kinder than most and once or twice sent up bread to Norman rather than the customary flour. She also gave him some cats for company and a few years later a dog and some pups. All winter and spring Norman kept his solitary watch, occasionally walking down to the homestead � probably just to keep his sanity, but sometimes bringing back stores, such as 60lb (27kg) or so of beef. He whiled away his solitude by painting. After a few years of this he left Haldon and went to the gold fields. He revisited Haldon in 1872 and finished some sketches.He is thought to have been a drinking man, and in 1875 he died in a snowstorm while returning from the Burkes Pass Hotel to Sawdon, where he was then working. His body was found frozen at the foot of the Long Cutting. He is the only 19th century artist of note to have lived in South Canterbury and the visual record he has left of the region is unmatched by any of his contemporaries. The high standard of his draughtsmanship and his tightly controlled use of watercolour and wash place him among the finest of New Zealand's colonial topographers.
Visual record: A drawing by Edmund Norman looking across farmland and grazing stock to the cob cottages of Haldon Station, east of Lake Benmore. One of New Zealand�s best early topographers, Norman was employed for several years as a boundary rider on the station. He whiled away his solitude by sketching and painting watercolours. Photo: South Canterbury Museum P 1885
Paintings of Canterbury 1840-1890 John Oakley, published by Reed 1969 first ed hb 80pp Reprints 60 early Canterbury paintings by various pioneer artists, colour and b/w 230x270x20mm
Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artist A Guide & Handbook by Una Platts Avon Fine Prints Ltd 1980
See Oliver Gillespie's South Canterbury A Record of Settlement; 1958 View of Linwood Homestead by Whateley Elliot 1874 page 376 drawing - Rex Kivell collection Nat. L. of AUS Ashbury, home of Belfield Woollcombe, Timaru by Whateley Elliot, 1874 page 289 from water-colour The Road Makers by William Greene, 1916 page 400 from a oil painting Aigantighe The Cass Gorge by E.S. Hope about 1952 page 400 from watercolour Sketches by W.B.D. Mantell x5 1848 ATL Haldon Station, a sketch by E. Norman page 145 SC Museum Beverley, home of H.J. Le Cren a sketch 1867 by E. Norman page 168 Caroline Bay, a sketch 1867 by E. Norman page 168 Holme Station, Pareora showing fencing 1866 by E. Norman page 272 SC Museum Raincliff homestead and station buildings by William Packe c.1868 page 104 ATL Raincliff homestead by William Packe c.1868 page 104 Canterbury Museum Mesopotamia, former homestead of Samuel Butler by William Packe about 1868 page 208 ATL Mesopotamia, inside Butler's house by William Packe about 1868 page 208 ATL Otaio Station by George Teschemaker page 105 SC Museum Old Stone Bridge, Washdyke by J.C. Wigley about 1954 page 273 water-colour painting
Timaru Herald Monday 2 December 1889 pg2
Referring to the pictures at the Dunedin exhibition the Nelson Mail says: - An observant visitor once remarked that the lack of artists, and also of admiration for the fine arts, in New Zealand was probably owing to the fact that the country is in itself a picture gallery, finer than any collection of landscape paintings that could ever be got together, so that those who were accustomed to see it every day of their lives could not appreciate mere representations of it or of other scenery.
Timaru Herald Monday 2 December 1889 pg2
It is related of the Shah of Persia that on one occasion when he was visiting a picture gallery, he was very much struck with a wonderfully faithful painting of a donkey. Asking the price, he was told "seventy-five guineas," where upon with a curl of his moustache His Imperial Highness intimated that he was not to be "had" in that way. For thirty shillings he could buy a real live donkey, and it was not likely that he was going to pay fifty times that amount for an imitation! So it may be with young New Zealanders; they have before them the original, and according do not place a high value on copies.
Timaru Herald Tuesday 10 December 1889 pg2
In a Dunedin journal we find a notice of the New Zealand water-colours in the art gallery of the exhibition. Only one is mentioned as a South Canterbury subject, Lake Pukaki, by Mr Gifford. The critic says this "hardly does justice either to the artist's ability or style." The plain man would rather know whether it does justice to Lake Pukaki.
Timaru Herald Tuesday 28 November 1899 pg2
The Dunedin Star in its notice of the oil paintings at the Dunedin Art Exhibition, says of one of them: - The large landscape by Miss Gillingham, named 'Waihi Gorge', is full of difficult work, a portion of which might have been left out with advantage, the canvas being somewhat overloaded; but one cannot help commending the exhibitor's patience and industry, and her love of detail may be converted to good use in the future. We regard this work as indicative of high promise.
Colours are shifty and confounding, and do not stay in place. They get infected by their neighbors. Paintings when reproduced in textbooks, or shown in constant light in windowless museums, look paralyzed breathe in changing daylight. They're not the same in summer as they are in winter. Reproductions maybe as good as the originals but there's nothing like seeing the real work. They're different in the red of dusk than they are at noon. Hue you see is essentially a matter of the wavelength of the light. Colours seen in photographs, which only seize an instant. Colours seem to move, they don't just sit there on the picture plane. Some colours advance, generally the hotter ones, while cooler hues recede. When squeezing pigments from his paint tubes, Henri Matisse would put 21 colours on his palette. Vincent van Gogh made do with nine. New pigments make new art. The synthetic colours devised by the chemists of the Industrial Revolution changed both the look and spirit of 19th-century oils. The acidic emerald green that jumps out of the paintings of the impressionist Claude Monet was a newfound synthetic. So was van Gogh's chrome orange. Cezanne had a reason for distrusting the new colours. He knew they wouldn't last. Van Gogh thought so, too. "All the colours that the impressionists have brought into fashion are unstable," he wrote his brother Theo, "so there is all the more reason not to be afraid to lay them on too crudely ? time will tone them down only too much." Lots of pictures in museums are continually changing - fading.
Wanganui Herald, 4 February 1902, Page 3
Art Dealer : Yes, that was painted by one of the old masters. But, I beg your pardon, sir, you must not touch it with your umbrella.
Old Mr Hardplayer : What the matter � ain't it dry.
Ploughmen perfect the art.
Judges examine the straightness and cut of the furrow, burial of weeds in the soil and the closure of the furrow so weeds cannot grow through, whether a seedbed is produced on the top, and how cleanly a plot is entered and left.
Hugh Golding Constable (1868-1949) the grandson of the landscape painter, John Constable, being the third son of Charles Golding Constable. Hugh married on on 12 July 1892. Hugh Golding Constable travelled extensively. He exhibited paintings at the Royal Hibernian Academy, along with his wife, Elinor May Constable nee Bomford (1872-1947) who was also a painter. In 1923 he returned to live in England, settling at Flatford Mill, and then later in Essex, where he continued to paint marine subjects and landscapes. They had two children. The couple probably commenced a world tour in 1895-1886 and stayed in Temuka probably to fish, paint, sight see and wait for the pending birth of their first child. Arahenua Ella Constable was born on 3rd April 1893 at Temuka and was named after Arowhenua, which the family soon shortened to �Winoa�. She never married and when her parents died, lived quietly at Dedham in Essex. She too was an artist she died on 3rd October 1966.
Twentieth Century Artists
South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project
Under construction - Additional information appreciated. Please let me know about artists that you would like to see on this list. Thanks. Email