Lake Te Koutu, Cambridge
This oil painting of Lake Te Koutu, found in the heart of Cambridge, Waikato, describes the type of picturesque setting that Charles Blomfield was known for. In 1880 the Cambridge Domain Board was established and set about turning what essentially was a wasteland, and the unofficial dumping site of the towns refuse, into a park. By the mid 1880s the Lake had its first dedicated gardener who spent the following years planting trees and laying paths. By the time Blomfield completed this painting, many of the gardens had already begun to thrive creating a tranquil, country scene.
Charles Blomfield (1848–1926) was born in London. Following the death of his father, Blomfield immigrated to New Zealand with his mother and siblings, arriving in 1863 on The Gertrude, a ship carrying passengers destined for Albertland settlements. Trained initially as a house decorator, Blomfield tried a number of different occupations, including an unsuccessful stint as a gold-miner. As his confidence as an artist grew he began working in oils, painting his subjects directly in the landscape. Blomfield's most famous works include a series of paintings of the pink and white terraces, made before the Tarawera eruption of 1886. He also painted an impression of the eruption itself which was copied by numerous artists and published in newspapers throughout the world. In the mid 1890s when his popularity began to decline, Blomfield travelled to Australia to seek new markets but gained little success. He returned to re-establish himself in New Zealand, moving to Auckland where he stayed for the remainder of his life.
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280 x 445mm (image)