Frank Brooke-Smith, Wangaehu River NZ, Oil, signed & dated 1889
Frank Brooke-Smith (c.1860-1932) Oil on canvas, ‘Wangaehu River, New Zealand’ signed & dated 1889
canvas 30.5 x 51cm
An interesting research project (via Google Earth) pinpointed the exact location of this painting, begining with the name written on the back of the frame (‘Wangaehu River, New Zealand‘) and then using the background mountain range ( the Taupo Range, from which the river flows ) it was possible to follow the river in satelite images, looking for a wider body of water. This was found with the correct alignment of mountains in a single place, the junction of the Mangamahu River and the Wangaehu River, around 50km north-east of Wanganui, on the North Island of New Zealand. At this time there was a small community there named Mangamaehu, with a school, pub & store; this would have been an ideal base for the travelling artist to paint the scene from. The scene is looking North- East towards the distant Mount Ruapehu & the Taupo Range. Going from satelite to ‘street view’ in Google Earth and see the actual scene; Brrok-Smith used a bit of ‘artistic lisence’, and the river is usually a rather small affair; however, the springtime melt of the snow in the mountains could make it the size seen here, and the small sailboat seen here would indeed be able to navigate sections of the river.
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