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Object: Darby and Joan [Ina Te Papatahi, Ngapuhi]

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Title Darby and Joan [Ina Te Papatahi, Ngapuhi]
Production Goldie, Charles F. (artist), 1903, Auckland
Medium summary oil on canvas
Materials oil paint, canvas
Classification paintings
Dimensions Image: 999mm (Height) x 1250mm (Width)
Frame: 1469mm (Height) x 1715mm (Width)
Format horizontal format
Credit line Purchased 1991 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and the Minister's discretionary funds
Registration number 1991-0001-1

This oil painting features Ina Te Papatahi, a Ngä Puhi leader from the Hokianga, who Charles Goldie first painted in 1902. She appeared in more than eighteen Goldie portraits over the following years. Darby and Joan illustrates Goldie's characteristic methods of painting Mäori subjects. It features careful brushwork, a naturalistic approach to the subject, and a contrast of Mäori sitter and Mäori material culture.

Gifts to the Governor
In 1903, this painting and one of Ina Te Papatahi's cousin, Rewiri Tarapata, were given to Lady Ranfurly, wife of the Governor, as a parting gift by the citizens of Auckland when she left Aotearoa. In 1990 both paintings were again in the spotlight when the National Art Gallery controversially purchased them for $900,000. While the price was high, the acquisition has enhanced Goldie's representation in Te Papa's collection, and the two portraits show him at the peak of his career.

Ambivalent images
Goldie's painting has been criticised as formulaic. It is often noted that Goldie's attitude towards his subjects is somewhat ambiguous. Meticulous and realistic, the portraits record valuable information about some notable figures. But as the title Darby and Joan suggests, Goldie isn't simply painting a portrait of Te Papatahi. 'Darby and Joan' makes reference to a well-known English song, in which an old couple, long-time partners, are still touchingly attached to each other. Here, 'Joan' is Te Papatahi, and 'Darby' is the carving she sits beside. Intentionally or not, the nostalgia of the paintings also tends to perpetuate a European view at the time of Mäori as a dying race.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.