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Hodgkins, Frances Mary (New Zealand, b.1869, d.1947), Artist
Untitled [Maori Girl]
1896
watercolour
340 x 240 mm sight size
33-2007
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Donated by the family of Edwin John Spence, born Dunedin 1864, Annie Jane Spence, nee Layton, born Dunedin, 1869 and Percy Layton Spence, born Dunedin 1878. These paintings were a gift to the Spence family through their friendship with Frances Hodgkins when they lived in Dunedin. The family left Dunedin in 1899 for Japan and a descendent, Mrs J. Day, has given the artworks back to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in July 2007.
This is one of a pair of paintings that Frances Hodgkins sent to the Spence family, who had retired to England in 1895. Mr Spence senior wrote to Frances’s father from London: ‘I hear your daughter Fanny has won golden praise with her Painting. I find I have not got one of her Paintings although I have two of Mrs Fields & three of yours – & I would like to have one. If she cares to paint one for me any subject she likes I will send her out £5 for it ….’(1) In March 1896 Frances sent the paintings off with friends who were going ‘home’ to England.
Ten years later, when she arrived in London, she stayed with the Spences who had ‘established at “Totara” in Upper Norwood a small corner of Dunedin overflowing with warm Dunedin hospitality and harbouring a collection of Dunedin art that did full justice to the talents of the Hodgkins family.’(2) On 6 March 1907 her show at Paterson’s Gallery opened on ‘a beautiful bright sunny day and the Gallery looked charming hung in a dead rose velvet & with a soft yellow light very becoming to the pictures’, and she was grateful that ‘my faithful Spences’ were there to represent Dunedin friends and family.(3)

1. Letter from Edwin J. Spence to William M. Hodgkins, 25 September 1895, quoted in E. H. McCormick The Expatriate, p 32
2. Ibid, p 52
3. Letter to Rachel Hodgkins, 7 March 1907, Gill, p 198

not on view

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