AUBREY, Christopher

Wellington from Kelburn

1888
Watercolour
500 x 875mm

The quality of the Aubrey’s architectural drawing suggests that he may have been trained as an architectural draughtsman. This panoramic painting gives a clear idea of the relationship of the city of Wellington to its harbour and is also a particularly valuable record of the capital as it appeared in 1888. The most notable architectural landmark is the Colonial Architect William Clayton’s Government Building, at that time the largest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere.

He was also responsible for the Italianate Government House which formerly occupied the site of the Beehive. Also clearly visible is his Gothic Parliament House which burned down in 1907 and was replaced by the present House of Representatives. The large wooden Gothic church in the extreme left is C.J. Toxwood’s 1851 St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Hill Street, which burned down in 1889, just one year after the completion of this painting.