A64_817.jpg Untitled. Edwin Harris. Collection of Puke Ariki (A64.817).

Could this be the most classical view ever of New Plymouth architecture? The lofty peak of Mount Taranaki is perfectly framed through a grand portico of columns and arches in this pencil sketch made by artist Edwin Harris. The Harris family arrived in New Plymouth on the settler ship William Bryan in 1841. This whimsical scene is said to have been a light-hearted gift from Harris to fellow settler Helen Wilson, who had been known to complain of the lack of any “real” architecture in the fledgling town. Helen Wilson, together with her husband Dr Peter Wilson, settled in New Plymouth in 1847 and the energetic and well-connected couple quickly became prominent citizens in the town. This sketch was donated to the Museum as part of a large collection of items from their household, given by their great-granddaughter Helen Warren during the 1960s and 1970s.

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