Framing the View

New Zealand’s spectacular scenery captivated European artists and photographers who came here in the 1800s. With no works by Old Masters to copy, nature was their training ground.

When | Āhea

24 Aug 2016 – 26 Feb 2017

Where | Ki hea

Level 5

Cost | Te utu



All ages

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • Wheelchair accessible

Find out more about accessibility at Te Papa

To perfect their art, European artists and photographers braved the elements, producing depictions that ranged from untouched worlds to romantic wonderlands and pictures of domestication.

A favourite site was the Pink and White Terraces, once considered ‘the eighth wonder of the world’. Paintings and photographs continued to reproduce their glory long after they vanished beneath the 1886 Tarawera eruption.

Charles Blomfield, The Terraces, 1885. Purchased 1946. Te Papa (1992-0035-1647)

Blomfield's paintings, exhibited in his Auckland studio, were praised as ‘the most faithful representations … with the varied tints of blue, pink, and yellow’.

Blomfield quickly developed a reputation for his terrace paintings and began reproducing them for the tourist market. However, critics were wary of the impact on his career, warning that ‘“Blomfield in Wonderland” should not become a proverb’.

Burton Brothers studio print from Charles Spencer negative, White Terrace. Purchased 1981 with New Zealand Lottery Board funds. Te Papa (O.002196)

Robert Henry Bartlett, Pink Terrace. From the album: New Zealand Through the Camera. Te Papa (O.040873)

Burton Brothers studio, White Terrace, circa 1885. Purchased 1981 with New Zealand Lottery Board funds. Te Papa (O.000806)

John Hoyte, The White Terraces, circa 1875. Gift of the Family of Patrick and Davina Foot, 2016. Te Papa (2016-0003-2)

John Hoyte, The Pink Terraces, circa 1875.Gift of the Family of Patrick and Davina Foot, 2016. Te Papa (2016-0003-1)

Charles Spencer, Pink Terrace, circa 1900. Purchased 2013. Hand-coloured photographic print.Te Papa (O.041083)

Photographers pictured the terraces from multiple perspectives, but colours were beyond the technology of the time. Some attempted to convey the pink hues by hand-colouring their prints later. The terraces were buried in the eruption of Tarawera on 10 June 1886, but photographers continued to produce prints of them from negatives into the 20th century.

Charles Spencer, The White Terrace, Rotomahana, 1880s. Gift of Nancy Adams, 1964. Te Papa (O.000767)

Burton Brothers studio, Boars Head, White Terrace, 1870s. Purchased 2014. Te Papa (O.043013)

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