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Object: The wool season

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Title The wool season
Production Gibb, John (artist), 1885, Christchurch
Medium summary oil on canvas
Materials oil paint, canvas
Classification paintings
Dimensions Image: 920mm (Height) x 1497mm (Width)
Frame: 1175mm (Height) x 1755mm (Width) x 83mm (Depth)
Credit line Gift of Mr H.A. Lamb, 1936
Registration number 1936-0022-2

The wool season depicts the steamer Wakatu off Port Robinson in North Canterbury. John Gibb brought his usual meticulousness to the scene, paying particular attention to the subtle quality of light across the water. The painting was exhibited at the 1885 New Zealand Industrial Exhibition in Wellington.

A steamship being loaded with wool bales was a common sight in the 1880s, when half of New Zealand’s exports by value were wool. Although the colony was looking to diversify its economy, it would be a long time before the wool season came to an end.

Gibb worked for twenty-five years as an artist in his native Scotland before he migrated to New Zealand in 1876. He became this country’s most successful and prolific painter of maritime pictures – a specialisation which won him many commissions both here and in Australia.

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