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 Laurence William Wilson  (1850 - 1912)

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Lived/Active: New Zealand/England      Known for: Landscape painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Horseshoe Bend, Waiau River
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Laurence William Wilson (1850 - 1912)

He was a member of the Ellerman Wilson shipping family.  He studied in England under N. E. Green, writer of Handbook on Landscape.

Wilson emigrated to New Zealand and was established in Auckland by October 1877 when he was renting Mr Gisborne's house in Parnell; in 1878 is listed as Oamaru artist Wise's; was said to have bought a farm in Canterbury; by 1884 in Dunedin, listed as Dunedin artist 1887-89 Stone's Directory.  He took pupils (O'Keeffe was one), became a painting companion of George O'Brien, and shared a studio with Nerli.  Was a prolific and certainly a competent painter, whose best work is of high standard, though his potboilers were considered by O'Keeffe as "too pretty".  He painted in oils and in watercolours but will be remembered for the latter.  Some of his watercolours of Canterbury were sent by arrangement to Ruskin who paid for them twice the amount agreed upon

In 1904, he left Dunedin for Melbourne where he spent five months on a commissioned painting of the city before he set out for England returning via India and Africa.  Although he was usually a good seller, the Wilson family money helped to keep him going.  Whenever one of the family died Wilson would get a legacy.  He was said by O'Keeffe to have managed to get through £11,000.0.0 in two years by buying (and backing?) two racehorses.  Another much later time when he received £1800.0. he went to England but first gave a party for his musical and artistic friends in a hall opposite Speight's brewery.  He returned in six months with about enough money to pay a cab fare.  Presumably it was on more Wilson money that he (and his wife?) left New Zealand for good.

Exhibited with CSA 1882 as Oamaru painter; with OAS 1884-1904; NZ and South Seas Ex Dunedin 1889-90; St Louis Exposition 1904 as a New Zealand painter.

Work included Centennial Ex Wtn 1940.  In 1889 his series of sketches, Our Trip to the Sutherland Falls was lithographed by J. Wilkie & Co.

Represented: major New Zealand galleries, Turnbull, Canterbury Museum, Hocken, OESA. Una Platts 19th Century New Zealand Artists

International Art Centre

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