Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Watercolour from a war

A postcard purchased a few days ago -- produced by the University of Otago from an original watercolour held by the Hocken Library: Edward Arthur Williams' (1824-1898) Manukau Harbour from Onehunga, 1864. At the time he did this, he was a Lt.-Colonel in the British forces sent here to quell the Maori uprising in the Waikato, serving with the Royal Artillery. The view is likely overlooking the lower Normans Hill area to the right. Just out of the scan range to the left, the beginnings of Onehunga's wharf area, and the future Gloucester Park.

According to Una Platts in her book Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists
Ensign in the army 1842, colonel when he arrived in New Zealand. Took part in Waikato and Taranaki campaigns. His marvellous collection of drawings and watercolours of the campaigns came in a roundabout way to the Hocken. He sent letters and sketches of this period (1864–65) home to his mother and eldest sister. The collection was sent by his son Brigadier General E. G. Williams CMG to Mrs Forster in New Zealand in December 1931; from her they went to her sister Gertrude Good, Ramanui, Hawera; she sent them to T. K. Skinner, New Plymouth, and thus they came to his son Professor Skinner, the ethnologist, who gave them to Hocken.
According to a Family Search page, Edward Arthur Williams was born in Woolwich, Kent, 17 February 1824. He entered the British Army in 1842, was awarded Companion Order of the Bath in 1866, achieved the rank of Colonel in 1867, Major General in 1880, honorary rank of Lt-General in 1885, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Artillery in 1890. He died at Eastcombe House, Blackheath, 20 June 1898, with an estate valued at £10,197.

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