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Rare Anzac paintings to go under the hammer

Rare Anzac Gallipoli battlefields depiction works to go under the hammer in Auckland

A rare Anzac Gallipoli battlefields painting will go under the hammer in Auckland next week.

The work, by Horrace Moore-Jones depicts Simpson and his Donkey and is expected to fetch up to $120,000 at the Webb’s auction next Monday night.

Webb’s Gallery managing director Sophie Coupland said today that Simpson became an icon of Gallipoli, heroically saving numerous wounded soldiers by carrying them to safety on his donkey.

One family has had the work up for sale in their possession for decades and were gifted it by the artist himself.

``The estimated value reflects a boom in prices for images depicting our Anzac history as the importance of this event to both New Zealand and Australia,’’ Coupland said.

``There is a real passion among people buying these works. They are big war buffs and amateur historians, as this is a real account of what went on in WWI there is sure to be interest from collectors. We are searching for our history and seeking a connection with our past. It’s not all about money or investment; it’s about people looking to buy back a piece of their history.’’

Horrace Moore-Jones was a New Zealand Sapper (military engineer) at Gallipoli and did many paintings in between dodging bullets. He painted his most famous works Simpson and His Donkey shortly after the war from a photo he had seen of a man bringing the wounded down to the beach on the back on a donkey.

John Simpson Kirkpatrick was with the Australian forces at Gallipoli and became a legend for his heroic effort in ignoring sniper and artillery fire as he brought the wounded on his donkey, Murphy, down a dangerous path to the beach until he was killed.

Kilpatrick is currently being considered by the Australian government for a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Simpson and His Donkey appeared on Australian Stamps in 1965 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ANZAC landings. In 1995 the Australian five dollar commemorative coin was released, again depicting Simpson and his Donkey with a wounded solder.

No campaign medal was ever struck for the Gallipoli campaign but in 1967 the Australian Government struck the ANZAC commemorative Medallion, which depicts Simpson and his Donkey.

Simpson’s image is also on the Australian 100 dollar note.


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