AUBREY, Christopher;

Wellington from Kelburn

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Watercolour on paper
485 x 880mm (image); 1010 x 1365mm (frame)

The quality of Christopher Aubrey’s architectural drawing suggests that he might have been trained as an architectural draughtsman. This panoramic painting gives a clear idea of the relationship between the city of Wellington and its harbour, and it is 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.

Clayton was 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 on the far left is C. J. Toxwood’s 1851 St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Hill Street, which burned down in 1889, just one year after the completion of this painting.

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Fletcher Trust Collection, purchased from McArthur and Company