Cambridge Terrace 1936-39

‘That famous meeting place’

In 1936, Rita Angus rented a studio flat in Cambridge Terrace, central Christchurch. Just over a year later, her friend Leo Bensemann, also an artist, moved in next door with his companion, Lawrence Baigent. The two flats became a hub of the local art world - a meeting place for painters, writers, and musicians.

Angus and Bensemann had much in common, including a keen interest in the art of other cultures. They spurred each other on artistically, and Angus produced some of her finest works during this time. Among them is one of her best-known self-portraits.

The period was a very sociable one in Angus’s life, and this is reflected in portraits of friends. Her sister Jean remembered the ‘lovely parties’ at Cambridge Terrace. Jean’s future husband, Fred Jones, described it as ‘that famous meeting place’.

All artworks are reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus.