There are approximately 5000 works in the University of Canterbury art collection, making it one of the largest art collections in the region. Located in the Macmillan Brown Library, the major strength of the collection is its representation of Canterbury art and artists, in particular those who have taught or studied at the University or at the College of Education. The collection includes works in a wide variety of media, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, weavings, and carvings by artists as notable as Shane Cotton, Rita Angus, Michel Tuffery, Neil Dawson, Andrew Drummond, Olivia Spencer Bower, Margaret Stoddart, Sydney L. Thompson, Bill Hammond or Ralph Hotere (among many others).
A small proportion of the art collection is now available for viewing on-line and has proved to be a very popular resource for the community, students and scholars alike. As the Library is able to catalogue, research and digitise works as well as negotiate copyright clearance, the on-line resource will continue to expand. Summer scholarship’s are a positive means to fast-track the establishment of one of the main tools for the UC collection to connect with the community and the rest of the world.
The main function of the art collection is to support learning and teaching at the University of Canterbury. Specialist staff are experienced in working with undergraduate and postgraduate students helping them develop their ideas for research projects based on Macmillan Brown collections. Feedback from students and their lecturers clearly demonstrate the benefits derived from working with unique library materials.
Partnering with academic departments, the library supports College of Arts internships, and UC summer student scholarships, giving students hands on practical experience engaging in a variety of activities related to processing, managing, and interpreting art and archival collections.
UC summer student scholarships are offered across a range of subjects and departments. They offer students with invaluable practical experience of focussed research. This helps to develop the skills needed at honours and postgraduate level study.
The Johnstone collection is just one of many art and archival collections focussing on the history of the School of Fines arts as well as the wider history of the arts in Canterbury held by the Macmillan Brown Library. The material available includes art works, minute books, correspondence, photographs, pamphlets, postcards, architectural drawings, and much more. As such, the special collections housed at the Macmillan Brown Library are an invaluable resource for those interested in studying this fascinating component of New Zealand’s art history.
The library holds a number of collections that contain material relating specifically to the School of Fine Art and the history of art in the Canterbury region, including but not limited to:
The School of Fine Art collection : a collection of art works executed mainly by artists associated with the School as both students and teachers.
The Macmillan Brown Collection : established in 1935 as a bequest from Professor John Macmillan Brown. Since then, various donations have been made by artists who have an association with the University or with the Canterbury region.
The College of Education Collection : the majority of this collection was purchased for display, as well as to cater to the teaching programmes at the Christchurch College of Education.
- University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts records (MB2114) : comprises of material relating to the history and academic programmes of the School of Fine Arts at both the inner city site and its later move to Ilam.
- William Sykes Baverstock papers (MB 51) : Baverstock (1893-1975) was a lithographer, philanthropist and artist, first director of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery and an active supporter of the Sunlight League. The collection includes documents, press cuttings and other materials relating to the creator's artistic, social and political interests.
- Also of interest are the artworks and papers contained in the The Acland Family Papers (MB 2517), Chrystabel Aitken papers (MB 1443), The Leo Bensemann papers (MB 314), Ursula Bethell papers (MB 558), Barbara Brooke, Gallery 91, Brooke-Gifford Gallery and 'Ascent' papers (MB 198), James A. Johnstone Collection (2464), Ngaio Marsh Papers (MB 2452) and Cora Wilding Papers (MB 183)
Find out more about our collections and how to access them on the Library's Art, Archives, Photographs page.