Watercolour painting of a blue vase with thick branches of yellow blossoming flowers. Prickly thorns can be seen over the lip of tha vase.

In 2020, Te Papa acquired an 1897 watercolour painting by Margaret Stoddart that had been given the title Yellow blossom and rosemary by the cataloguers. But what are those blossoms, really? And is that rosemary in the vase, or something else? Here, Curator of Historical Art, Rebecca Rice unpacks the painting and suggests it could be somewhat pricklier than it first appears.Read more

It is with immense sadness that we mark the passing of John Edgar ONZM. Stone carver, sculptor and environmentalist, John Edgar has been a central figure in stone carving since the early 1980s. Here, Curator Decorative Art and Design Justine Olsen reflects on Edgar’s rich practice and influence on Aotearoa New Zealand’s stone carving and sculpting. Read more

On the left, a painting of a Māori chief, on the right, the back of the painting showing an unfinished portrait of a young boy

In this excerpt from Back of the Painting, a new book from Te Papa Press that takes a literal look behinds the scenes of famous paintings in New Zealand galleries, Conservator Paintings Linda Waters uncovers a mystery: the unfinished portrait of a young boy.Read more

View from interior of a room, with woman and dog at the threshold - the woman turned to look back at the artist.

During lockdown, we’ve been encouraged to ‘post’ objects in our windows to offer symbols of solidarity – teddy bears and Anzac poppies – for people walking past, looking in. Rebecca Rice, Curator Historical New Zealand Art reverses the direction and looks at works in our collection where the artist shows us views from the inside out.Read more

A necklace made by Colin McCahon. It features three handcrafted red flowers on a thin woven rop

Colin McCahon is a household name in New Zealand because of his paintings – but did you know he dabbled in jewellery? Decorative art and design curator Justine Olsen writes about a lesser-known part of McCahon’s life.Read more

Close-up of Finale: Bouquet showing the abundance of strips of colour

A moment of jubilation, a three-dimensional painting, thousands of fluttering, colourful strands. Hundreds of thousands in fact. Finale: Bouquet represents the culmination of work by Australia artist Nike Savvas and a Te Papa team entrusted with realising her monumental artwork. Here, spatial designer Vioula Said and exhibition preparator Sam Wallis run you through what went into bringing it to life.Read more