Joy of portraits Kiwi style

book coverI’ve just discovered the New Zealand Portrait Gallery website and, during a quick browse around, this lovely portrait of the writer and scholar Dame Joan Metge caught my eye. To me it is a wonderful portrait revealing a beautifully aged face full of expression and wisdom. I love portraits  both painted and photographed. And libraries are great places for wonderful books full of portraiture.

A teenage job saw me working at the National Library in Wellington and one of the joys of the job for me was the discovery of a treasure trove of photography books full of wonderful portraits. I would sit on the stairs poring over them. This love has continued and some interesting New Zealand books of portraits include:

Our heritage photos contain some lovely photos of people like this one of the shoe-shine man in Cathedral Square and Elizabeth McCombs, New Zealand’s first woman MP.

If you want to visit the NZ Portrait Gallery it is housed in a beautiful old brick wharf shed on Wellington’s waterfront. Lots of writers’ portraits are among the treasures like this beauty of Janet Frame by Robin Morrison.

Do you have  a favourite portrait – or book of portraits?

4 thoughts on “Joy of portraits Kiwi style

  1. Gallivanta 3 February 2013 / 2:57 pm

    Some lovely portraits. Really like the one of Elizabeth McCombs.

  2. Keri Hulme 3 February 2013 / 4:47 pm

    Janet gave me that lovely cicada, and many years later, I gave it to a sister-in-law I esteem. Within a month, that same portrait was reproduced in the ChCh “Press”…
    I knew Robin but hadnt realised he taken that work..
    Really like this blog- cheers n/n Keri Hulme

    • Marion 4 February 2013 / 10:07 am

      Thanks for sharing this. Every portrait has at least one story – its great to know a story from the Janet Frame portrait.

    • Donna 4 February 2013 / 10:09 am

      Kia ora Keri
      Fascinating! Adds a whole layer of history to that portrait. Thanks.

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