Posts categorized as Design History

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 »

A Christchurch house – dismantled, recycled and up for auction

Adjustable lampshades made from wooden blinds.

In February, Te Papa opened a commemorative display, Remember: the Canterbury Earthquakes, to mark the fourth anniversary of the devastating 2011 quakes. The display features two pieces of furniture by Rekindle, a social enterprise committed to unlocking the qualities of undervalued materials, and in particular Christchurch’s demolition ‘waste’. The Whole House Reuse Project: creating good work from… Read more »

The Lethbridge Sisters – inspiring designers a century on

Students from Massey Univesities

The industrious Lethbridge sisters Earlier this year Te Papa was approached by Red Strand Design. Based in Cork and London, the company specialises in design-based cultural and education projects. They invited us to take part in Passion & Legacy, a project inspired by the incredible stitch work of the ‘Lethbridge Sisters’, Julia Baroness Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1865-1947)…. Read more »

The Gallery of Helen Hitchings – mixing the modern – art and design

‘Helen Hitchings inspecting a self -portrait on display in her Gallery’, circa 1950, by Photo News Ltd (Wellington, N.Z.). Te Papa (CA000124/001/0060)

When Helen Hitchings launched her gallery in 1949, it was a landmark moment for modernism in New Zealand. Te Papa celebrates this event with the exhibition in Ngā Toi /Arts Te Papa with the Gallery of Helen Hitchings. Former advertising assistant and theatre designer, Hitchings had established her dealer gallery in a converted warehouse space… Read more »

Peter Stichbury (1924-2015)

Peter Stichbury, 1972, Auckland, by Steve Rumsey. Purchased 1998. Te Papa (O.027680)

To commemorate the life of the late New Zealand potter Peter Stichbury our curator of art and design Justine Olsen looks back over his life’s work. It is with great sadness that we farewell Peter Stichbury – the last of the Leach generation of New Zealand studio potters. Equally at home behind his wheel or firing the… Read more »

Recently I travelled to Stratford to attend the opening of Te Papa’s touring art exhibition Gordon Walters: Koru which is currently on show at the Percy Thomson Gallery. The exhibition includes a selection of the artist’s iconic koru works from the mid-1950s until the 1980s from Te Papa’s collection. It also includes rarely seen preparatory… Read more »

Helen Mason (1915-2014)

Helen Mason, Dish, stoneware with slip decoration, about 1960. Purchased 1993. Te Papa

It is with sadness that we farewell Helen Mason, potter, first editor of the New Zealand Potter and great friend and mentor of the craft/arts community. Helen Mason’s involvement in the arts, from the early days of the studio pottery movement to her more recent endeavours, has become legendary. Her early training typified education for… Read more »