Untitled [Design for Chalice]
James Johnstone, Pencil and ink drawing on paper, Date unknown. UC/MBL/2061
As a designer and teacher of metalwork, James Johnstone was often called upon to design and execute a variety of ceremonial objects such as chalices and patens. The Macmillan Brown collection holds a significant number of original designs for these objects, many of which were donated to the Canterbury Museum. In some instances, the object’s commissioner or purpose is known, often due to hastily written notes on the design. Though the purposes of these Chalice designs are unknown, they are particularly interesting examples of Johnstone’s design work, as they incorporate New Zealand-native flora. The two designs use the same basic shape for their cups and bases, however their midsections are slightly different in shape, with one emerging as an elliptical sphere, and the other protruding and then curving inwards. Both in the larger design, and in details to the side, Johnstone has included plans for the chalices’ engravings featuring the kowhai flower. These stylised flowers are decorative and reminiscent of the arts and crafts style that Johnstone was trained in, but rather than simply repeat English designs, Johnstone has here placed this Chalice firmly in a New Zealand context.
James Johnstone : A selection of artworks
Click on the thumbnails to discover more about this striking selection of artworks by James Johnstone. Images selected and written about by Alice Tappenden.