Posts categorized as Art

Long she reigned over us: Queen Victoria at Te Papa

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With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like – that requires not a blog… Read more »

Dreaming of the modern – Helen Hitchings

Photo of Helen Hitchings

It was while Helen Hitchings (1920-2002) was in hospital during the early 1940s that the idea of forming a gallery came to her. The Gallery of Helen Hitchings was opened in Wellington in 1949, her mission to promote an awareness of ‘good domestic design’, made by New Zealanders– up to date examples of modernism free… Read more »

Holy mums-to-be! Rossetti at Te Papa

2 & 6 Visitation Rossetti

Mad for Rossetti ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Even the name is extravagant, evoking Italy’s greatest poet and the angel of the Annunciation. It well suited Rossetti, for he was an extravagant man – in his art, in his poetry and in his emotions. Brilliant, witty, generous and loyal, he was irresistible to friends and to lovers’…. Read more »

As I listened to Judith Jones, one of Te Papa’s hosts trained in audio description, describing the tumultuous sea, the approaching storm and the strange geography of Nicholas Chevalier’s Cook’s Strait New Zealand c. 1885, I ‘saw’ the painting as never before. For the other tour participants, listening acutely, this was their first encounter with… Read more »

Henry Tonks: Two clean babies reunited

Oil painting entitled 'After the bath' by Henry Tonks

Late last year, Te Papa got an exciting new acquisition for its international art collection: Henry Tonks’ After the bath (1910-11). This sweet Edwardian painting depicts a woman in a red dress holding a freshly-bathed baby on her lap, surrounded by three little girls. The painting is full of wonderful little details, like the impish child putting on… Read more »

Cold comfort photography

photo camp

 It is the beginning of June in New Zealand and if you are a photographer it is the perfect time to go camping. Despite the dire warnings from his friend (referred to as ‘Titfaddle’) concerning the folly of making a six week camping trip in the middle of winter, Alfred Burton and his son Harold, left Dunedin for Lakes Te Anau and… Read more »

One out of the glory box – An itsy bitsy teenie weenie….

Betty Curnow's bikini as worn on Shoal Bay during the 1950s. 
Photograph courtesy of Anna Miles.

Well not quite yellow polka dot but a bikini made from a shirt worn in one of New Zealand’s most iconic portraits. This treasured textile was shared by Auckland art dealer, Anna Miles, and is one of many images shared on Instagram and Twitter using our hashtags #Tivaevae #Textiletreasures   This bikini top belonged to… Read more »

How bazaar! J.F. Lewis and the Bezestein, El Khan Khalil, Cairo

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The English painter John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876)  was a fascinating and brilliant enigma to his contemporaries, and remains so today. He was certainly no pompous, verbose Victorian bore. At a dinner of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, Lewis delivered a memorable presidential address, rising from his seat, saying nothing, and promptly sitting down again…. Read more »