Untitled [Nativity Illumination]

Untitled [Nativity Illumination], [Ngarita Johnstone], Illuminated calligraphy on paper mounted in cardboard frame. UC/MBL/2198

[Ngarita Johnstone], Illuminated calligraphy on paper mounted in cardboard frame. UC/MBL/2198

As part of Ngarita Johnstone’s design curriculum at the Canterbury College School of Art, she was taught the technique of illumination, which would later become and important aspect of her teaching practise. In the Macmillan Brown Collection, there are several examples of Ngarita and her students’ work in these areas. Illuminated manuscripts utilise calligraphy with decorative additions such as borders and illustration, and most commonly, gold or silver lettering. In this case, Johnstone has chosen to depict the story of the birth of Christ. She has written it in precise lettering in black ink, and has then illuminated the first letters of each sentence in gold leaf. Additionally, a guiding star at the top has been illuminated in gold, and a decorative border surrounds the text. Below is a small illustration of the angels and Mary and Joseph surrounding the manger and baby Jesus.

Ngarita Johnstone : A selection of artworks

Click on the thumbnails to discover more about this striking selection of artworks by Ngarita Johnstone. Images selected and written about by Alice Tappenden.

Assisi Border, Ngarita Johnstone, Graphite, pen, wash, and twink on paper, mounted. UC/MBL/2248
Untitled [Table Cloth with Assisi Border], Ngarita Johnstone, Embroidery and cross-stitch on linen, Date unknown. UC/MBL/2274
Panel in Appliqué, Ngarita Johnstone, Watercolour with applique stitches, c. 1950. UC/MBL/2105
Untitled [Nativity Illumination], [Ngarita Johnstone], Illuminated calligraphy on paper mounted in cardboard frame. UC/MBL/2198
Untitled [Embroidery Sampler], Ngarita Johnstone, 1947, Embroidery on Linen with cotton, silk and wool threads. UC/MBL/2240
Untitled [Place Setting], Ngarita Johnstone, Embroidery on linen. UC/MBL/2270
Untitled [Table runner], Ngarita Johnstone, Embroidery on linen. UC/MBL/2271
Trees near Te Anau, Ngarita Johnstone, 1990, Graphite and coloured pencil on paper. UC/MBL/2285
Percival River, Hanmer, Ngarita Johnstone, Watercolour on paper. UC/MBL/2331
  • Phone Numbers
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  • Email Enquiries
    Lydia Baxendell
    Art Collections Curator
    Macmillan Brown Library
    lydia.baxendell@canterbury.ac.nz
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