Threads of Time: Travel, Trade & Textiles


exhibition Details

Please note, this exhibition will be closed from Monday 6 May to Friday 10 May due to works. It will reopen on Saturday 11 May. We apologise for the inconvenience. 

Threads of Time: Travel, Trade & Textiles is a jewel-box display in the historic Mackelvie Gallery that offers a survey of European art from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Presenting for the first time new acquisitions and recent donations to our Auckland audiences, this exhibition also showcases beloved paintings and sculptures from the permanent collection, some of which have not been on display for several years. Five thematically-driven, Salon-style hangs underline the sumptuous materiality of fabrics, both as depicted subjects in art and as physical supports that sometimes peek through a painting’s layers of pigment and varnish.

Products of technology and trade, fabrics are cultural artefacts. They are also markers of social status and expressions of individual taste and sentiment. As such, their depiction in paintings, sculpture and works on paper is the outcome of precise negotiations between artist and client. Interpreting works from the permanent collection through this social and historical lens, Threads of Time explores how fabrics can offer insight into the interwoven threads of fashion, art and identity in the politics and cultures of the past.

Download more information on the artworks displayed within the exhibition here:

Threads of Time – Age of Enlightenment

Threads of Time – Age of Sail

Threads of Time – Northern Schools

Threads of Time – Southern Europe

Threads of Time – Threads of Faith

Image credit: Henri Gascard, Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth circa 1670, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gifted in memory of Mr and Mrs Joseph James Craig of Auckland by their children, 1952.

Curated by
Sophie Matthiesson & Kenneth Brummel
Mezzanine Level