Speaking to the Friends of the Turnbull Library at this year’s AGM, Marian Minson, curator Drawings, Paintings and Prints, looked back over 36 years working at the Library, and revealed some personal favourites among the artworks for which she has been responsible for the past 15 years. Her highlights included several from Alexander Turnbull’s own collection, and her reminiscences ranged from the idiosyncrasies of staff members such as the redoubtable Tony Murray-Oliver, to the astounding growth of the Drawings, Paintings and Prints collections, which has trebled over the past three decades.
Delicate watercolours, delightful oils, architectural sketches, landscapes, historic scenes, early colonial towns, ships, portraits – this was a very special curator’s guided tour through nearly 50 significant items. Some were well-known artists (Heaphy, Fox, C D Barraud, G F Angas, von Guerard) but many others were lesser-known treasures, such as John Pearse’s “Mr Biggs House, Hutt, 1855” [E-455-f-053-1] showing fissures from the 1855 earthquake, and John Adams’ view of the Auckland waterfront in February 1844. [B-176-003].