Lake Tarawera

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Oil on canvas
500 x 900mm

Charles Blomfield is best known for his paintings of Otukapuarangi and Te Tarata, the Pink and White Terraces, and the surrounding region of Tarawera and Rotorua. This exceedingly fine work, dated 1883, predates the 1886 eruption of Tarawera. The painting portrays no less than seventeen figures, busily engaged on the shore and the water of Lake Tarawera. The work is not only a landscape, but also a document of contemporary activity.

Blomfield first visited the region during a camping trip in December 1875, commenting that Tarawera and the Terraces were exceedingly beautiful and graceful. Returning in 1883, he spent six weeks documenting the Terraces and their surroundings. His meticulous sketches and finished paintings are among the most important records of the region. It was reported that by September 1885 orders for his work had been received from throughout Europe, America, Australia, and other places.

Following the eruption of Tarawera, Blomfield realised that the paintings he had made of the Terraces were a valuable record, and he declined to sell them. He went on to paint and sell scale copies, for which the prices soon grew. After 1886, he continued to travel throughout New Zealand painting scenic oils. His greatest love remained the native bush, of which he wrote enthusiastically in his diary.

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C. BLOMFIELD 1883 [l.l.]


Fletcher Trust Collection, purchased from International Art Centre, Tāmaki Makaurau, 30 July 2019, lot 60

Private collection, United States of America