View of Part of the Town of Wellington, New Zealand

  • About the work
    Country: New Zealand
    City: Wellington
    Place: British High Commission

    In 1840 Charles Heaphy was an employee with the New Zealand Company (established in London in 1837 with the aim of systematically colonising New Zealand). Heaphy’s ‘Part of the Town of Wellington’ is a view from Clay Point, looking along Willis Street towards a hill known as the Te Aro flat. The original watercolour for this lithograph was amongst several that Heaphy sent to the directors of the New Zealand Company in London, via immigrant ships. The directors selected the works most suitable for encouraging immigration and these were passed to Thomas Allom to be lithographed.

    The process of lithography required the watercolours to be redrawn onto stone slabs and this allowed Allom (a more experienced artist than Heaphy) to make improvements and additions. The alterations, almost certainly made at the request of company directors, increase the potential of the images as marketing tools. For example, two Scottish men milking goats at the bottom right of ‘Part of the Town of Wellington’ were added by Allom. This later addition was probably a deliberate attempt to encourage immigration among Scots.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Allom was born in Lambeth; the son of a coachman. He was apprenticed to architect F. Goodwin and studied at the Royal Academy Schools. He was a founder member of the Institute of British Architects (1834) and later a fellow (1860). From 1828 to 1845 he produced some 1500 topographical designs for engravings after sketching tours in England, Scotland, France, Belgium and Turkey. He was also a lithographer and painted architectural perspectives. Allom exhibited at the Society of British Artists and Royal Academy (1824-71). He returned to architecture from 1840 and his designs include Christchurch, Highbury (1847-48), St Peter’s Church, Kensington (1855-57) and the William Brown Library, Liverpool (1857-60). He died in Barnes, aged 68.
    Charles Heaphy was born in London; the son of artist Thomas Heaphy. He worked as a draughtsman for a railway company and attended the Royal Academy Schools, before becoming draughtsman to the New Zealand (NZ) Company. He was sent to NZ as part of an expedition to find suitable sites for settlements and while there, sketched and painted landscapes and people. He returned to England in 1840 to report on progress and lithographs after his works were published in London in 1842. He returned to NZ and later worked for the NZ colonial government. He served as lieutenant, then captain, during the Invasion of Waikato (1863-64). In 1867 he was the first colonial officer awarded the Victoria Cross. After several government posts, he retired in 1881.
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  • Details
    View of Part of the Town of Wellington, New Zealand
    September 1841
    Colour lithograph
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, June 1960
    GAC number