An Adventurous Artist

Thursday 28 February 2019

Margaret Stoddart (1865-1934) was not only a well-known watercolour painter, but she appears to have been a bit of an adventurer as well.

Watercolour of billy boiling

Billy Boiling, Akaroa 1893 by Margaret Stoddart. No known copyright. Canterbury Museum 2015.115.49

At Easter in 1893 she set off with her sister May, in a group of nine, to walk from Diamond Harbour to Akaroa. The route included ascending to Mount Herbert and dropping down into Little River for the night. Then they walked up the hill past the hilltop, along the summit and down into Duvauchelles. According to a newspaper article describing the adventure, "the inhabitants of Akaroa seemed surprised to see ladies carrying their knapsacks".

After a day's rest yachting and oyster eating in Akaroa Harbour they donned knapsacks again. On the way home they encountered a bush fire and had to descend under it, then climb back up to the track.

In August the same year Margaret and her sister climbed Mt Torlesse, and went on to explore Mount Cook in November. Margaret has included some painted illustrations of the trips, as well as photographs, in the M O Stoddart album that Canterbury Museum now cares for (2015.115.1).

Photograph of walkers

No known copyright, Canterbury Museum 2015.115.60

Some of Margaret and her sister's photographs are on display until 2 August 2019 at Christchurch Art Gallery in its early Canterbury photography exhibition Hidden Light.

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