Book launch: An Exquisite Legacy

Join us for the launch of the biography of pioneer Aotearoa naturalist George Hudson, whose large collection of insects is now part of Te Papa’s collections.

The author, Hudson’s grandson Dr George Gibbs, and Courtney Johnston, Te Papa’s Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive, will be in attendance.

  • When | Āhea Tue 27 Oct 2020, 6.30pm–8.00pm
  • Where | Ki hea
    Te Papa Store, Level 1
  • Cost | Te utu Free event

About the book

The biography of one of New Zealand’s greatest naturalist-artists, G. V.Hudson. George Hudson, 1867-1946, was one of New Zealand’s pioneer naturalists, who devoted his life to collecting and describing the New Zealand insect fauna. He amassed what is probably the largest collection of New Zealand insects, now housed at Te Papa. Hudson also wrote seven books on insect fauna between 1898 and 1946, each illustrated in colour with immaculate paintings of the specimens, a total of over 3100 paintings, mainly focused on months and butterflies.

Front cover of the book An Exquisite Legacy


An Exquisite Legacy, 2020, published by Potton & Burton. Courtesy of Potton & Burton

An Exquisite Legacy is a biography of Hudson, written by his grandson Dr George Gibbs, himself a prominent entomologist. Gibbs outlines the life of this naturalist and artist, whose dedication and output was truly remarkable. Hudson remained an amateur naturalist his whole life, but his contribution to our knowledge about the New Zealand insect world is of enduring significance, while his artistic legacy, built up over nearly seven decades, is truly remarkable. This extensive collection of exquisite illustrations is without parallel in New Zealand.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, this biography of George Hudson is the first chance for most people to see his exquisite artwork. Up until now, his books have been valuable collectors’ items unavailable to most people. A foreword by Courtney Johnston, Chief Executive of Te Papa, provided in recognition of the importance of this book, and the significance of the Hudson Collection at Te Papa.

About the author

Dr George Gibbs has published four books on New Zealand insects, numerous scientific papers, and the now classic volume on New Zealand biogeography, Ghosts of Gondwana (Potton & Burton, 2006, revised and expanded in 2016).

Preview An Exquisite Legacy on Potton & Burton’s website