As a pioneer of modern painting in New Zealand, Henrietta Catherine Angus, better known as Rita Angus, evolved a distinctive and highly personal art. Angus – an austere, disciplined and often exacting woman – was sustained by her belief in her vocation. From the 1960s she was recognised as one of the leading figures in 20th-century New Zealand art.
Augustus Earle was probably the first English freelance painter to travel the world. He was the first European artist to establish himself for a time in New Zealand and make a prolonged study of part of the country and a number of its people.
Earle was born in London in 1793. He may have been taught painting by the president of the Royal Academy, Benjamin West, whose studio was in Newman St near Earle’s childhood home. Classical, genre and historical paintings by Earle were hung in six Royal Academy exhibitions between 1806 and 1814, a rare honour for a teenager.