View of Parnell and Auckland from the top of Mt Eden, watercolour by Edward Harker, circa 1865
Edward Harker, 'No 1 View of Parnell and Auckland taken from the top of Mt Eden', circa 1865, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1940

First Impressions: 19th-Century watercolours of the Auckland region

FreeAccessibleCentral Auckland

Saturday 29 September to Sunday 14 October, 10am-5pm
For full exhibition dates visit


Auckland Art Gallery Toi oTāmaki

Cnr Wellesley and Kitchener Sts, Auckland Central

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No bookings required

Gallery entry charges:
NZ residents, free (with proof of residency)
Members and Members Guests, free (with valid Members card)
Children 12 & under, free
International adults, $20
International students, $17 (with ID)


Event details

Easily transportable, relatively inexpensive and time efficient, watercolours were a convenient means for European settlers in Auckland to express impressions of their new environment in the 19th century.

The works from the period convey a sense of wonder in encountering a new landscape of boundless horizons, and what amateur artist Caroline Abraham described as "my own bright land".

It is tempting to view historical watercolours as objective records of landscapes. Nineteenth-century watercolours often reflect the colonists' desires to tame, codify and beautify the New Zealand landscape after their own understanding and ideals. Idyllic and picturesque, the watercolours imprint these same qualities onto the land.

Brought to you by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

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