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 Charles Blomfield  (1848 - 1926)

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Lived/Active: New Zealand      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
Kauri Park, The Entrance
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Biography from International Art Centre:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Charles Blomfield (1848-1926)

Has long been recognized as the most popular early New Zealand painter of the Pink and White Terraces.  Blomfiled first saw the Terraces during a camping trip in December 1875, and commented that they were exceedingly beautiful and graceful. Returning in 1885 he spent six weeks documenting the Terraces and surrounding landscape in a series of oil paintings.  It was reported that by September 1885 orders for paintings had been received and completed from throughout Europe, America, Australia and other places.  Early on the morning of 10 June 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted, burying the terraces.  Blomfield was heartbroken and decided to see the devastation for himself.  He returned to the area in October and painted several scenes of the terrible destruction. 

A world away, fourteen of his Rotomahana paintings were on display in South Kensington, London at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition.  This major exhibition strengthening the bonds of the the British Empire was opened by Queen Victoria a received 5.5 million visitors.  Blomfield realized that the paintings he had made of the Terraces were a valuable record, and declined to sell them.  He went on to paint and sell scale copies of these works.  The prices soon trebled in value.

After 1886 Blomfield continued to travel throughout New Zealand painting pictures of mountains, rivers, lakes and cloud effects, but his greatest love remained the native bush, of which he wrote enthusiastically in his diary.  Charles Blomfield died in Auckland in 1926. The Terraces were thought to be buried by the Tarawera eruption of June 1886.

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