John Mitford

Grafton Gully

Grafton Gully by John Mitford

Artwork Detail

John Mitford arrived in Auckland in 1841 and worked as a customs official. His watercolours record his local environment and his travels. Grafton Gully, 1843 provides a panoramic view of Auckland from Grafton Gully: Government House can be seen in the centre, with Rangitoto and North Head in the background. Mitford produced two additional, similar watercolours of this vista that are smaller in scale and are painted with a looser technique, indicating that they were most likely preliminary experiments for this watercolour. Here Mitford has contained the expressive brushwork in the trees and hills within defined contours, and has elevated his viewpoint to create a more centralised composition. The resulting watercolour is a panoramic vista of rhythmic lines, atmospheric light, and vibrant texture that depicts Auckland as a place both wild and tamed, surging and tranquil.

Grafton Gully
John Mitford
Production date
watercolour, pencil, gum
323 x 472 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Lt Col R M Rendell, 1942
Accession no
Other ID
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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