The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust continues to extend the collection, adding significant works every year. Explore the archive of our recent additions to the collection here.
In September 2013, MTG Hawke’s Bay opened after a period of extensive redevelopment. Among the collection items that were selected for display in the opening suite of exhibitions was the articulated skeleton of a North Island Giant Moa (Dinornis novaezealandiae), which had been put together in the 1930s using a collection of bones donated to the Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery and Museum by Mary Evelyn (Eva) Turnbull. As part of the process of preparing the moa for display, a new mount was designed to replace the thick metal rod that had previously been used to support the skeleton. As the skeleton was being carefully disassembled in August 2013, a two-page letter was discovered inside the pelvic bone. Written by Annie (Anne) Keating to Patricia, the letter discusses a visit to Napier by Marie Biel and the author’s plans for New Years Eve. While the content of the letter indicates that it was written after 1936, many questions about how the letter came to be stowed away in the moa skeleton remain unanswered: Was the letter placed there during the process of mounting the skeleton or was it inserted while the moa was on display? Who was responsible for putting it there? What motive did they have for saving it in such a way for posterity?
While it is unlikely that we will ever know the answers to these questions, research has yielded some information about the author of the letter. Born in 1873, Annie was the daughter of Mary and James Leith. In 1901, she married local cabman, Arthur Ernest Keating with whom she had five children. In the early years of their marriage, the couple lived on Colin Street in Ahuriri but by the late 1910s they had moved to nearby Waghorne Street. Annie subsequently appears to have remained in Ahuriri until at least the late 1950s, passing away in 1961.
Image credit: Letter to Patricia, Annie Keating, (b.1873, d.1961), collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2013/54
Kimberley Stephenson, Archivist
Terry Stringer’s Princess Margaret Blowing Her Nose (1980) was purchased by the MTG Foundation as a recent addition to the Fine Arts collection.
Princess Margaret Blowing Her Nose comes from an early period in Terry Stringer’s work in which he was working with painted wooden forms. Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust already have the lovely Reclining Woman work in our collection and have made strategic purchases over the last few years concentrating on early 1980s works including Hilda in her Cloche Hat (1983) and Egyptian Souvenir (1981).
The Princess Margaret work adds significantly to those holdings and seemed a particularly ideal work to add to the collection with its strong evocation of costume and style. For many of Stringer’s generation Princess Margaret was a post war fashion icon – the ‘naughty’ royal. Stringer capture’s that sense of personal style in his own distinctive way choosing a particular moment that gives the work an extra frisson of amusement and an element of charm.
The MTG Foundation viewed this work at their Christmas function and it was well loved.
Image credit: Princess Margaret Blowing Her Nose, 1980, Terry Stringer (b.1946), purchased with Mary Bestall funds by the MTG Foundation, collection of Hawke's Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2013/62
Sara Browne, Access Team Leader
We recently received the gift of a gorgeous outfit designed by the New Zealand designer, Peggie Wilson. The race day outfit dates from 1967 and was made for the Melbourne Cup Race Day where it was awarded Highly Commended in a fashion show.
The outfit comprises a shirt, skirt, jacket, sash and matching hat. There is even a matching coat hanger which is quite unusual – often the hanger has been lost over the years, so it’s always great when they do survive with the original outfit. We often think of miniskirts when we think of the 60s but this A-line skirt is knee length and the strong tailoring in the shape of the jacket gives a sophisticated and timeless look rather than that of high fashion. Other costumes in the collection by Peggie Wilson include the Vienna Bon Bon evening dress and coat.
Image credit: Ensemble, 1967, Peggie Wilson (b.1921),gifted by Peggie Wilson, collection of Hawke's Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2013/59/2
Sasha Smith, Registrar
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