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Works from Ravenscar Collection to go on public display

Visitors to four New Zealand art galleries, including Christchurch, will soon have the chance to see three works by Frances Hodgkins that have not been on public display for many years.

Ravenscar Trust has loaned the paintings – three of 10 by Frances Hodgkins in its collection – to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki for the exhibition Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys, which opens on 4 May and runs until 1 September.

The exhibition will also be touring to Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and the Adam Art Gallery, Wellington from late 2019 and through 2020.

From 2021, the three paintings – the Mill House (c1938–1939), Venice, (1906) and Monastery Steps (1933) – will hang in the new Ravenscar House, New Zealand’s first contemporary house museum which is currently under construction in Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch.

Ravenscar Trust is developing the new house to replace the original Ravenscar House at Scarborough, the former home of Trust benefactors Jim and Dr Susan Wakefield.

When completed at the beginning of 2021, the Trust will gift the house to Canterbury Museum. The Museum will convert it to display the Ravenscar Collection of New Zealand fine and decorative arts, sculpture, designer furniture and classical antiquities, and open it to the public.

Trust Chair, Steve Wakefield, says, “The Trustees and the Wakefield family are delighted that the public of New Zealand will have the chance to see these works before they return to Christchurch for long-term public display at Ravenscar House.

“The Trust’s collection of works by New Zealand’s finest artists have been in storage since the Canterbury earthquakes so we’re delighted to support Auckland Art Gallery’s touring exhibition Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys which will enable the public to see some of the best works painted by this remarkable woman.”

Museum Director, Anthony Wright, says artwork and objects from the nationally significant collection will be displayed in the house in four rooms, inspired by the four main rooms in the original Ravenscar House at Scarborough. “It’s very exciting to have reached the stage where we can now actively plan the design themes and layout of each of these rooms. We want visitors to experience what it would be like to live in an amazing house surrounded by beautiful objects and to appreciate the generosity of Susan and Jim Wakefield.”

Construction of the $15 million development, designed by international award-winning architects Patterson Associates, commenced in February 2019. Sheet piling work is now complete and basement excavation is well underway and due to be completed in May. Work on the basement will continue for the rest of 2019, with the construction of the main house structure starting in early 2020.

The 520 sq m house will be built on a base-isolated platform over an 880 sq metre secured basement car park (25 spaces), with an external public car park (25 spaces) accessed from Worcester Boulevard. The site for the house museum was gifted by Christchurch City Council in 2016, following public consultation.

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