England/New Zealand, 1819–1888
Western Coast of Tasman Bay 1885
watercolour on paper, 750 x 1320 mm
Collection of The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū: purchased by public subscription in 1885 as the first painting for a public art collection in Nelson. ACC: 66
If there were ever an artwork intended to ‘sell’ New Zealand in the 1880s and celebrate the picturesque beauty of the Nelson region, then this was it. In fact, the painting was awarded first prize in a ‘Landscape Painting in Watercolour’ exhibition in Wellington in 1885. The following year it was shown at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London, making it one of the first international marketing campaigns for the Nelson region.
Landscape painter John Gully emigrated to New Zealand from England with his family in 1852, moving to Nelson in 1860, where he worked as a part-time drawing master at Nelson College.
Western Coast of Tasman Bay is a studio watercolour that depicts the area now known as Abel Tasman National Park, with Adele Island off the coast. The cattle give scale to the scene, as well as suggesting the promise of the land for both tourists and immigrants.