This painting was commissioned by Josiah Clifton (J.C) Firth as part of a series of large oils depicting specific events in the development of his impressive Matamata estate. This particular work shows a wide bend in the Waihou River with Maori figures in waka (canoes) and on the shore. In the distance is Mount Te Aroha, isolated from its usual setting in order to increase its importance to the reading of the scene. It has been suggested that this painting may illustrate the ‘aukati’ or boundary line set by the Kingitanga to delineate Maori and British occupied territories during the Waikato Land Wars. Other works in the group include ‘The Meeting of J.C Firth and Te Kooti’ held in the Waikato Museum collections and ‘The Death of William Thompson the Kingmaker’ at Auckland City Art Gallery.
Albin Martin (1812-1888) was born in Dorsetshire, England. A keen student of the arts, Martin moved to London in 1834 to study under the British artist John Linnell. Martin lived in Italy and England where he continued to develop his painting skills, before making the move to New Zealand in 1851 aboard the Cashmere with his family. Martin lived in Auckland, initially on a large farm in Pakuranga and then moving to Ellerslie when his health began to fail. In the final years of his life Martin was still a tireless supporter of the Arts in New Zealand.
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595 x 752mm (image)