Pumpkin Cottage, Silverstream, Wellington
1900, 160 x 230mm, Watercolour on paper
Herbert Fitzherbert was born at ‘Marsden’ in Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt, the eldest son of William Alfred Fitzherbert (1843–1906), an engineer, sometime artist, and the first mayor of Lower Hutt. He was educated in Te Awakairangi and then for one year at Wanganui Collegiate School. For a time he worked as an architect. His father built a studio for him in the garden at ‘Marsden’. He also painted at Pumpkin Cottage, Silverstream, a summer house frequented by members of the Wellington Art Club, including Isabel Field, Roland Wakelin, Nugent Welch, and its founder, James Nairn.
Between 1897 and 1910, Fitzherbert showed with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. In 1911, he moved with his family to London, where he studied at the Slade School. He married and lived at St Ives, Cornwall, at a time when it was a centre for British art. He served with distinction in World War I, winning a Military Cross. Thereafter, he worked as a professional artist, contributing caricatures to Punch under the name ‘Fitz’. In 1933, he moved to South Africa, possibly seeking respite from asthma. He died ten years later in Johannesburg.