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'Thrill Me Every Day' from 2 May

The Celia Dunlop
Collection - Walters, Verdcourt, Bodley
Click to enlarge

‘THRILL ME EVERY DAY’ – The Celia Dunlop Collection
2 May – 13 September 2009 | FREE ENTRY
Wallace Wing, TheNewDowse, 45 Laings Road Lower Hutt | Wallace Wing, TheNewDowse, 45 Laings Road Lower Hutt |

“I consider myself lucky to have enjoyed our happy association over 36 years now . . . we have built a lot of my collection together. The different parts of it – the paintings and sculpture, craft and contemporary jewellery – thrill me every day.”
Letter from Celia Dunlop to art dealer Peter McLeavey

‘Thrill Me Every Day’ is an exhibition and book celebrating the late Celia Dunlop’s rich and diverse art collection, accompanied by a series of public programmes for adults and children.

A well-known Wellingtonian, Celia Dunlop died from cancer in 2008. It was her wish that her collection be recorded for her children and grandchildren. Celia also believed that private collectors play an important role in allowing the public to experience the huge breadth and quality of New Zealand art.

During her lifetime, Celia collected over 250 art works by 121 artists. She was attracted to paintings, works on paper, ceramics and contemporary jewellery. Usually armed with hundreds of dollars rather than thousands, she purchased works to mark significant occasions, to reflect her values and beliefs, and to test the traditions and conventions of her upbringing and her willingness to remain open to new experiences. The result is an idiosyncratic and deeply personal collection, which expresses the significant role that art can play in a person’s life.

After 40 years of collecting, Celia declared art to be “not great for the budget, but wonderful for the soul”. Jill Trevelyan notes, “Although she acquired works by renowned artists such as Gordon Walters and Ralph Hotere, Celia’s is not a ‘trophy’ collection… if she had to choose between continuing to drive a rusty old car or a new artwork, she would invariably choose the art”.

The Celia Dunlop Trust has produced a beautiful book of the collection. The book documents the collection in its entirety, and features a contextual essay by art historian Jill Trevelyan. All proceeds from the book will go to the Mary Potter Hospice.



Celia Dunlop
Celia Dunlop (nee Morrah) was born in Palmerston North. She studied anthropology at Otago University and later completed a master’s degree in education and a diploma in librarianship at Victoria University in Wellington. Her master’s examined art and illustration in children’s literature. Celia Dunlop was a well-known figure in Wellington, due to her support of the arts and various high-profile communication roles.

In her professional life she worked as a librarian at the Dunedin Teachers’ College Library, the Victoria University Library and Alexander Turnbull Library, where she was involved with the Dorothy Neal White collection of children’s literature. Later, Celia moved into communications and worked for various agencies including the Arts Marketing Board of Aotearoa, the New Zealand Community Funding agency, IHC and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Jill Trevelyan
Jill Trevelyan is a curator and writer with an interest in mid-20th-century New Zealand art. Her works include Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters (shortlisted for the 2005 Montana New Zealand Book Awards) and Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life.

Hamish Dunlop
Hamish Dunlop is the son of Celia Dunlop. He is the co-curator of the exhibition ‘Thrill Me Every Day’ – The Celia Dunlop Collection, and project/design manager in the production of the book.

Artists featured in the exhibition and book include:
Len Castle, Gordon Walters, Bill Hammond, Ralph Hotere, Michael Smither, Peter Robinson, Richard Killeen, John Pule, Seraphine Pick, Andrew McLeod, John Reynolds, Shane Cotton, Ben Cauchi, Matthew Couper, John Walsh, Robyn Kahukiwa, Chris Charteris, Jenny Pattrick, Bronwynne Cornish, Brendan Bodley, Lynn Kelly, Alan Preston, Warwick Freeman, Ann Verdcourt, Lauren Lysaght, Peter Ireland.


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