T. B. Kennington, Idle Hours (The Goldfish Bowl

Is the painting Idlesse by Thomas Benjamin Kennington (1856–1916) a late Victorian time-bomb, which would have delighted intellectual guru Michel Foucault, author of The History of Sexuality? Or is it an unjustly overlooked, chaste, white masterpiece, a victim of prudery and puritanism in its lack of exposure since its acquisitionRead more

Imagine this: the Soundings Theatre at Te Papa is staging a lunchtime event. It seats just over 300, but the only problem is that 24,000 people want to be there. This was the scary scenario confronting the National Gallery, Washington, when it screened the first episode of the pioneering televisionRead more

Famous stamp collectors in history range from King George V to Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury. The 1943 New Zealand Health stamps feature prominently in the latter’s carefully arranged schoolboy album. Their triangular shapes carry novelty appeal, while their subject matter is charmingly distinctive: Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (agedRead more

  With the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New Zealand, it’s the perfect moment to ask what some of Te Papa’s treasures tell us about our feelings towards royalty.  Lorde’s critical and irreverent take on the ‘Royals’ of her mega-hit song runs counter to the overwhelmingRead more