Object: Kororareka in the Bay of Islands
This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.
To the best of Te Papa’s knowledge, under New Zealand law:
- there is no copyright or other intellectual property rights in this work in New Zealand; and
- the work may be copied and otherwise re-used in New Zealand without copyright or other intellectual property rights related restriction.
Te Papa will not be liable to you, on any legal basis (including negligence), for any loss or damage you suffer through your use of this material, except in those cases where the law does not allow us to exclude or limit our liability to you.
|Title||Kororareka in the Bay of Islands|
Martens, Conrad (artist), 1841, Sydney
|Medium summary||oil on canvas|
|Materials||oil paint, canvas|
|Classification||oil paintings, landscapes|
x 470mm (Width)
Frame: 485mm (Height) x 637mm (Width) x 65mm (Depth)
|Credit line||Purchased 2002|
Kororaeka in the Bay of Islands was painted in Sydney, six years after Conrad Martens’ brief sojourn in the Bay of Islands, and is based on a pencil drawing in a sketchbook, Kororareka, Bay of Islands, 1834-36 (State Library of New South Wales). There are only minor differences between the on-the-spot sketch and the painting, chiefly the addition of the group of Maori standing on the left. This view from behind Kororareka looks across the town towards the bay, with the buildings of the pä and a thin line of European houses along the shoreline. One of three known New Zealand oils by Martens, this painting was first recorded as being in a private collection in Sydney in 1919, and was reproduced in 1920 in Lionel Lindsay’s book, Conrad Martens: The man and his art.
London-born Martens was a pupil of the popular artist Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding. In 1833 he sailed for South America, where he seized the opportunity to join HMS Beagle as its artist. On leaving the Beagle in Valparaiso late the following year, he set out for Sydney, sailing via Tahiti, the Cook Islands and the Bay of Islands, where he spent five days in April 1835. After his delightful few weeks in Tahiti, he found Kororareka a disappointment, and wrote in his journal of the ‘grey, dull and sombre tone’ of the scanty trees and land. (1) His negative impressions of New Zealand are reflected in the dark cloud effects and muted colours of this painting, and in the absence of bush other than the rotted tree trunk lying in the foreground.
He settled in Sydney, building a strong reputation as an artist, and exhibiting and selling watercolours and oils of Australian, South American and Pacific subjects. Prints of his work were widely published, including etchings of his South American landscapes as illustrations to the account of the voyages of the Beagle. On his death in Sydney in 1878, he was described as ‘the acknowledged father of colonial art,’ (2) and his reputation, unlike that of many colonial artists, has survived intact to the present.
This essay originally appeared in Art at Te Papa (Te Papa Press, 2009).
1. Conrad Martens, Journal of a voyage on board HMS Hyacinth commenced May 19, 1833, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Australia, A 429.
2. ‘The late Conrad Martens’, Sydney Mail, 31 August 1878, p. 332.
Find additional information about this object at these sites
- Google Art Project
Results from DigitalNZ
Searching 27 million digital objects from over 150 content partners across New Zealand
- KororÄreka - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
- KORORAREKA - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
- KororÄreka, 1845 - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
- The Church Kororareka Bay of Islands - University of Otago
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.