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New Zealand From The Long White Clouds

“This was the first-time people where seeing their cities from the sky.” – Ben Erren Head of Decorative Arts, Webb’s

Almost 200 rare and historically significant photographs showcasing New Zealand landscapes from the clouds go up for sale in a Webb’s online auction from today, closing Tuesday December 8th at 8pm.

This single owner collection of repatriated mid-century aerial photography by Victor Carlyle Browne fully captures the expansive cross section of New Zealand’s topography. From breathtaking snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps, to the sweeping golden beaches of the upper north. Also included in the sale are several images snapped a little closer to land, but still certain to evoke nostalgia. These include the Surf Lifesaving School at Te Onepoto through to an electric finish of thoroughbreds at Addington. Throughout the collection, the captivating stills transcend the historical nature of the genre.

The photography offered in this sale is widely regarded as some of the earliest aerial photography taken of Aotearoa, with many concurring Browne as being the most prolific in the genre. Their importance serves as a zeitgeist to the cultural and physical landscape of New Zealand at the time in which they were taken.

His aerial photography career began as a young man in 1925 when he came to Christchurch to take photos for a new publication “New Zealand from the Air” a pioneer journal of its time. With his pilot Captain A. Bradshaw, Vic Browne traversed the entire country, North Cape to Stewart Island taking many thousands of pictures.

Many of the photos taken by Browne comprise stunning views of the Southern Alps, covering mountains, rivers, lakes and glaciers. He also covered most New Zealand towns and cities from the air. Whereas White’s Aviation were strong in the North Island Vic Browne was King of the South. But both photographers also ventured into the other’s territory each getting stunning shots.

Vic Browne flew (as photographer) with the Canterbury Aero Club for 45 years from 1925 and was made a life member. At the time of his death in 1980 the vice-president of the Canterbury Aero Club noted that “Nobody has photographed New Zealand as extensively as Vic Browne”.

90 . V.C. BROWNE 
Downtown Auckland 
Gelatin silver print 
150 x 200mm
EST . $100 - $200
66 . V.C. BROWNE 
Shotover River 
Gelatin silver print 
150 x 200mm
EST . $100 - $200

To view the Catalogue and to bid online, visit:

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