Recent Acquisitions

The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust continues to extend the collection, adding significant works every year. Explore some recent additions to the collection here.

First Holy Communion dress

The beautiful first communion dress pictured below, along with a certificate and three photographs have recently been donated to the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust collection by Elaine Rawson. The objects tell a wonderful story of a young Hastings girl receiving her First Holy Communion.2014.18.1resized2

On Sunday 13 November 1949, Elaine received her First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart Church in Hastings. This is a rite of the Catholic Church to celebrate a child first receiving the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Elaine’s hair was arranged in ringlets and a white veil was attached. Elaine was then dressed in a beautiful pin-tucked and lace edged white communion dress, which her grandmother, Catherine Marie Fitzgerald had expertly sewn for the occasion. The ensemble was completed with white socks and shoes.  At the end of the service the young communicant was handed a certificate in remembrance of her First Holy Communion. Elaine’s certificate records when and where the service was held, along with the signature of the officiating priest.

Image credit: Dress, gifted by Elaine Rawson, collection of Hawke's Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2014/18/1


An Artist's Gift

MTG Hawke’s Bay is delighted to welcome two new fine art acquisitions into the collection by celebrated New Zealand painter Nigel Brown.

The artist and his partner Sue McLaughlin felt compelled to gift the works following the display of Brown’s work in a previous exhibition at MTG Hawke's Bay, Architecture of the Heart. A painter who explores ideas of identity, myth, realism and the human relationship with the environment, Brown is an artist with nationwide scope. However these two paintings hold particular significance to Hawke’s Bay and Napier. Exhibited in Napier at Statements Gallery, circa 2002, both are from his Deco Series and depict an Art Deco style figure frolicking in a Napier setting. Known for his use of symbolism, bold outlines and rich colour, Brown’s exploration of art deco subject matter seems a natural fit and is realised vividly in these works.

Passion (after Preiss) (2002) depicts a central figure, brandishing a torch in each hand, leaping over an open fire. Capturing the exuberance and excitement of the Art Deco movement, the work pays homage to art deco sculptor Ferdinand Preiss’ Flame Leaper.

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Three Statuettes (after Bouraine) (2002) depicts three statues in a Napier setting, modelled on sculptor Marcel Bouraine’s iconic art deco work. Unrestrained by their bronze shells, the figures convey the movement and dynamic modernity that was so integral to the deco style. In these works Napier takes its place on the international art deco stage, symbolically playing host to two of the movements most celebrated artists. By doing so, Brown reinforces the city’s cultural importance in the broader Art Deco movement. The new additions join four other Nigel Brown works held in our collection.

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Image credit: Three Statuettes (after Bouraine), 2002, Nigel Brown (b.1949) gifted by Nigel Brown and Sue McLaughlin, collection of Hawke's Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2014/9/2

Image credit: Passion (after Preiss), 2002, Nigel Brown (b.1949), gifted by Nigel Brown and Sue McLaughlin, collection of Hawke's Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2014/9/1

French connection

Christian Lacroix, a name once synonymous with baroque opulence and haute couture fabulousness, has come to Hawke’s Bay. MTG is delighted to now count the name of this fashion powerhouse among the pieces of our already impressive costume and textile collection. The bold graphics, colour, use of text and exaggerated lapel and cuff design in this 100% silk dress and shirt two piece nod to its 1990s origin. Part of several Lacroix diffusion lines, this ensemble represents a shift from bespoke haute couture design to ‘ready-to-wear’ - a practice where high end designers attempt to reach a broad market by mass producing finished garments in standardized sizes.

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By the time this ensemble was made, Lacroix was beginning to drift into the fashion hinterland. The popularity of his over-the-top opulence was beginning to wane in favour of nineties minimalism ushered in by the clean lines of designers such as Calvin Klein. Gifted to the HBMT collection by the Wild Clarke family, this lurid ensemble was given to Beatrice Clarke by an aunt who purchased it in London. A rather unwanted gift, Beatrice recounts she only wore the pieces once and instead they took their place at the back of the closet, halfway to Narnia.

Despite this ill-fated beginning we couldn’t be happier to bring this piece of fashion history back into the light. It joins garments in our collection from other French fashion houses including Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.

Image credit: Dress and Blouse, Christian Lacroix, gifted by the Wild Clarke family, collection of Hawke's Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2014/14/1, 2014/14/2


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