A free entry

Open daily 10am — 5pm, except Christmas day

Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets

Contact us

+64 9 379 1349

hello@aucklandartgallery.com

Alfred Sharpe

A jam in the lava cleft, Hay's Creek, Papakura

A jam in the lava cleft, Hay's Creek, Papakura by Alfred Sharpe

Artwork Detail Request a print

The deaf artist Alfred Sharpe wrote that he intended his paintings to serve as 'the "In Memoriam" of what will then be our historical forests'. Such a keen awareness of the ecological impact of colonisation was unusual in the nineteenth century, when most artists and writers preferred to celebrate the 'progress' represented by extractive forestry and the subsequent introduction of European species. A jam in the lava cleft, one of the most celebrated of Sharpe's works, depicts an accidental jam of kauri logs which have been floated down from the Hunua Ranges. Resembling a mysterious Doric colonnade at rest in the dark New Zealand bush, the smooth, pallid logs - once trees but now commodities - are juxtaposed with the rough volcanic cleft that has snared them. As a youth in Liverpool, Sharpe had been exposed to the Pre-Raphaelite landscape tradition, and in his voluminous writings he counselled artists to represent faithfully the new geological and botanical realities: 'To represent accurately the scenery of a totally new country we must divest ourselves of old-world and antiquated notions of art, and begin de novo at Nature's shrine'. While traditionally considered as little more than 'topographical' in motive, Sharpe's large-scale exhibition watercolours have belatedly been recognised as some of the gems of early New Zealand art - not least for their explicit critique of the colonial appropriation of the landscape. (from The Guide, 2001)

Title
A jam in the lava cleft, Hay's Creek, Papakura
Artist/creator
Production date
1878
Medium
watercolour
Size (h x w)
644 x 458 mm
Inscription
Alfd. Sharpe 1878 (l.r.). A Jam in the Lava Cleft - Hays Creek - Papakura N.Z. (l.l.). (label verso) A jam of logs in the Lava Cleft, Hays Creek Papakura -. Alfred Sharpe Price/L5.O.O (?).
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr John Leech, 1936
Accession no
1936/23
Other ID
1936/23/D, 0/305 Old Accession Number, OCM 1346 Old Accession Number
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

If you’re interested in reproducing this artwork, you can enquire here.

Request a print