This early 19th-century lithograph depicts Wellington Harbour (formerly known as Port Nicholson). The harbour comprises of two large bays, known as Lambton Harbour and Evans Bay. The view is drawn from a location which was then known as Clay Point (now the corner of Lambton Quay and Willis Street).
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). In mid-October, Heaphy, returning from a trip back to London, met his friend Frederick Moore in Wellington. The friends built a residence overlooking Lambton Harbour, choosing the site of Clay Point. They constructed the walls from saplings and supplejack, plastered over with clay. The building was facetiously named Clay Point Castle. Outside the castle the friends erected a flagpole, seen to the right of ‘Part of Lambton Harbour’. The original watercolour shows the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand on the pole. However, in this lithographed version it has been replaced by a Union Jack on a white background. A key to the print was also published, which identifies the buildings around the edge of the bay and the ships moored in the harbour.
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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