Mr Partridge’s Gift: The Story of the Lindauer Pictures


exhibition Details

The Lindauer gallery may truly be looked on as a national collection, though it has been left to a private citizen to do that which should really have been the care of the State – the collection and preservation for this and future generations of a series of life-like paintings of the great ones of the native race now no more. 

(Auckland Star, Sep 2, 1901)

Henry Edward Partridge (1848–1931) was one of portrait painter Gottfried Lindauer’s earliest clients, and grew to be his most dedicated patron. Their professional relationship lasted almost 40 years. Partridge is best remembered for having amassed a collection of over 70 works by Lindauer, both portraits of Māori and scenes of Māori life, later known as the Partridge Collection. He displayed these works in the ‘Lindauer Art Gallery’ above his tobacconist shop on Queen Street which was open to the public and became a well-known Auckland attraction. The extraordinary visitors’ books from the Lindauer Art Gallery, with comments from distinguished Māori and Pākēha of the day, are on display in The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New ZealandAs noted in the Auckland Star in 1901, many comments in the visitors’ books were moving and poetical, as well as being cognisant of the significance of the collection: 'Skilled is the hand, great is the thought of the man who brings before us in living shape the shadows of our dead friends. Alas! They were the great totara trees of Aotearoa in their generation.'

The gift of the Partridge Collection to Auckland Art Gallery in 1915 was made on the proviso that Aucklanders raise £10,000 towards the Belgian Relief Fund, a sum which was achieved in a matter of weeks. This was both a humanitarian and civic-minded gesture by Henry Partridge who had witnessed first-hand the plight of Belgian refugees fleeing the advancing German army during World War I. A copy of the cheque itself and the letter of thanks from the Auckland Provincial Belgian Relief Fund are included in this display.

The E H McCormick Research Library’s collection of Partridge Correspondence has been digitised and is available online. 

Curated by
Catherine Hammond and Caroline McBride
Mezzanine level display case
Free entry

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