Fanny Osborne

Kowhai – Sophora microphylla or sophora chathamica

Kowhai – Sophora microphylla or sophora chathamica by Fanny Osborne

Artwork Detail

Fanny Malcolm was born at Symonds Street in Auckland in the early years of colonial settlement. She spent much of her childhood on Great Barrier Island where her family moved in 1859 to farm cattle. Much of Fanny Osborne's childhood was spent in isolation. She and her siblings were educated by their parents, and early on learned an affiliation with nature. Fanny ran away to Auckland to marry one of the other settlers on Barrier, Alfred Joe Osborne. They eventually returned to Great Barrier. When young her parents had nurtured the skills she demonstrated with her sketches, and once she could find the time in between looking after her 13 children, she began painting the wide array of native plant life in watercolour. She may well have produced albums of her watercolours for sale to visitors to the island. This selection of works, bequeathed to the Mackelvie Trust in 2015, demonstrate the delicacy of her touch, her fine sense of colour, and the accuracy of her botanical studies.

Kowhai – Sophora microphylla or sophora chathamica
Fanny Osborne
Production date
late 19th century-early 20th century
watercolour on paper
286 x 215 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Mrs S M M Nicol, 2015
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

To find out which artworks are available for print requests and reproduction please enquire here. This service only applies to select artworks in the Gallery's collection.