Posts written by Lissa Mitchell

Don Binney 1940 – 2012

In the recent death of Don Binney New Zealand art has lost a major contributor to its diverse tradition of landscape painting.  Binney began painting his stylized images of birds in the landscape in the early 1960s.  These unique and startling images quickly established his reputation.  The ‘oversized’ birds combined a personal take on hard-edged… Read more »

Lili’s gift

“Dear friends, may this beautiful instrument bring you happiness and inspiration. All my love, Lili Kraus, London, Christmas 1959.” So read the handwritten inscription in the piano Michael Parekowhai obtained for On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer currently on display at Te Papa. In the museum’s collection there are photographs of Lili taken around 1946/47 by two different… Read more »

Unsolved mysteries

Perhaps you know where some of the photographs below were taken?  If you can help, please note the number related to each image with your comment below. Click on the images to enable enlargement. 1) Its summer here… 2) North Island wharf 3) Is it Otago harbour? And if so, what is the view of?… Read more »

Lee-Johnson’s London

Between 1930 and 1938 New Zealand artist Eric Lee-Johnson, and his young family, lived in London while he studied art and experimented with modernist ways of representing the world and making photographs. Lee-Johnson’s photography was a bit of a secret as his primary artistic focus was painting but the photographs he took were remarkably good. These appealing… Read more »

Of cats and people

A while back I posted Marion Queenie Kirker’s image of a ‘nodding cat’. Recently the rest of her negatives were scanned and uploaded to the museum’s database. One of the things I enjoy about working in the museum is helping to make images like this available to be seen. There are no prints from these negatives… Read more »

Lost houses

Do these houses still exist?  If you know anything about them (especially a street or road address) please note the number with your comment – thanks! 1) ‘Elvington’ in Oamaru   2) Farmhouse in the Manawatu area   3) Cottage possibly in Wellington   4) Country residence in Manawatu?    5) ‘St Kilda’ in Oamaru… Read more »

Object unknown

Perhaps you know where some of the photographs below were taken and what they are of?  If you can help, please note the number related to each image with your comment below. 1) What building is this Burton Brothers stereoscopic image taken from and where is it?  2) Is it Lake Wakatipu?  Where exactly is… Read more »

Nodding cat

Sometimes there is little information about some of the photographs in the collection. I love this image. It was taken in the 1930s by Marion Kirker (1879-1971). Yet I wonder: who is the man? Is it his cat? Why photograph them? What is the cat looking at? The man seems to be holding onto the… Read more »

W F Gordon’s Taranaki land war photographs

Early last century, New Plymouth man William Gordon assembled a photographic record of people (both Māori and European) who served in the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. The Dominion Museum (Te Papa’s second predecessor) purchased the photographs in 1916 as part of the Gordon Collection. Recently, I have been working on improving the documentation… Read more »